Here in Georgia, too much Carolina in our minds

One thing I’ve noticed since moving back to Georgia is how many people here spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about North Carolina, and specifically Charlotte. They’re building high-speed rail in North Carolina. They’re building light rail in Charlotte. They’re spending more money on incentives to lure businesses. They just landed the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

(Notice how many of the supposed superiorities in our northern neighbor concern left-wing causes; you don’t hear much about North Carolina leading the way in cutting red tape or privatizing inefficient state-government functions.)

But it seems not every tarheel is sold on the “North Carolina model” we in Georgia are supposed to find so impressive. Behold this speech by one of the top Republicans in the North Carolina Senate, Bob Rucho, as transcribed by the Charlotte Observer:

Here we are in a situation where we’ve got double-digit unemployment. And the reality is that it’s probably close to 17 percent unemployment with people who are either unemployed or underemployed. And yet, last debate, where were you [Democrats]? You just said, ‘We’re going to keep spending! We’re just going to keep putting more money in the pile.’ Because of the fact that, God forbid, we stop spending and make sure that government just doesn’t run at the same level.

“I want you to take responsibility for the way you’ve all led this state in the past 10 to 12 years — because of the fact that you spent us to death. And now when we have to make some tough decisions you’re crying about $75 million, where in reality — how many billions? — $1.7 billion we put in incentives. …

“And you talk about the incentives and how great they were. Well, I’ll tell you what a good incentive is: It’s lowering your tax rates, cut your government spending to a normal level, and allowing businesses to function in the creative environment. And then you’re going to see the jobs. … The reality is, we’ve got to grow our existing businesses. …

(snip)

“Now, do you take full blame for the recession? No. But you sure aggravated it. You added a billion dollars of new taxes on top of the existing businesses. You punished the people who are working. You made it harder for the businesses to expand and grow — and maybe even survive, for that matter.

A little background: Even with things going so swimmingly in North Carolina — at least according to some people here in Georgia — the state’s voters just saw fit to turn out the majority party (the Democrats) in both chambers of the legislature. It’s the first time the state’s senate has been out of Democratic control since 1870.

And now a few facts that may help explain the political upheaval:

  • During the 2009 through 2012 fiscal years, North Carolina has had bigger budget shortfalls than Georgia all four years in absolute terms, and in three of the four years as a percentage of the state’s budget. This year, their budget shortfall is projected at $3.8 billion to our $1.7 billion.
  • North Carolina’s unemployment rate, at 9.8 percent, is just about the same as our 10.2 percent.
  • North Carolina was cited by the Tax Foundation as having one of the nation’s 10 worst business tax climates; Georgia is in the middle of the pack at No. 25.

Look, I’m not saying North Carolinians have nothing to be proud of, or that Georgians have all the answers. But neither is the converse true. Let’s leave the great art of poor-mouthing our own team to the football coaches.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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74 comments Add your comment

HDB

February 9th, 2011
5:35 am

The reason that people are looking at North Carolina as an example is that the educational system has yet to take a financial hit. The citizens of North Carolina PRIZE education while the yokels here persist in cutting education funding!!

Also,,,North Carolina focuses on research and innovation….note the number of facilities in Research Triangle! Does Georgia have a comparable mindset?? NOT!!

If you haven’t noticed……Atlanta USED to be a banking CENTER in the Southeast….now, that distinction goes to Charlotte……remember Wachovia USED to be First National Bank of ATLANTA and National Bank of GEORGIA, SunTrust USED to be Trust Company Bank of GEORGIA…and the numerous banks that USED to call Atlanta HEADQUARTERS are no more!!

Think about it!!

HDB

February 9th, 2011
5:35 am

FIRST! WOW….My first time!!

arnold

February 9th, 2011
5:45 am

North Carolina has become a progressive state. There are quite a few more educated citizens. Georgia is not progressive. Not enough elites in Georgia. :-) Very simple.

Progressive as a nice word?

February 9th, 2011
6:29 am

Haven’t the “Progressives” run the fascist regimes we’ve had here (Wilson, FDR, etc.)? Is that something to be proud of? Oh yes, they claimed (as Progressives still do) that a small cadre of them (guess what, they choose who to let in, not you) can make all the decisions for you and know what is best for you? GIve me ‘yokels’ if that means I get some freedom back in my life.enjoy raising my own children vs. the government doing it for me, etc.

Learn to Read

February 9th, 2011
6:42 am

Ah yes, those “fascist” socialists, right? Which one is it, right wing or left wing? Perfect example of poor education, you probably haven’t actually read either Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto, which are on opposite polar extremes of the political spectrum. Like most here in the South, you’ll probably just keep voting against your self interest so that the big companies can build up their profits – corporate profits have never been better, but us working stiffs haven’t had it this bad in a long time.

NC Resident

February 9th, 2011
7:03 am

The grass is not always greener. I live in NC and Mr. Wingfield makes excellent points. The democrats were turned out in 2010 because of the mess they have made of state government. We have a lottery and it was supposed to be for education, but about 2/3 of the funds have gone into a “black hole”. The city of Charlotte has many of the same issues that ATL has.

jt

February 9th, 2011
7:04 am

Forget NORTH Carolina.
SOUTH Carolina is God’s country.

And Georgia will only recover after the North east and California progressives quit flocking here from the state’s that they have screwed up.

I would rather have illegal Hispanics than illegal opnoxious yank progs.

Joe

February 9th, 2011
7:06 am

@Learn to Read, don’t try to reason with a middle-class Republican. The fact that he votes against his own self-interest will totally fly over his head, just as telling poor African-Americans that their biggest obstacle toward growth is their own demagogue leaders. People are stupid by nature, and that is the way they like it. It’s just easier than looking past the facade.

I still cannot believe that the idiots of this state passed the Non-Compete amendment in November. Had most of them had enough sense to research the topic, or simply to not vote on something they did not understand, then they would not have passed the egregious strike against the workers of this state. Of course, in 3 years, when they get ready to leave their job and are told that they cannot work for 2 years, by order of their former employer, they will throw their hands up and wonder why.

It’s the same idiots who thought it was a great idea to buy a $350,000 house, with no money down, on an $80,000/year salary. Of course they are still blaming the mortgage broker, banker, builder and real estate agent for conning them.

Most people are just stupid, what else can you say?

A Frank Zappa

February 9th, 2011
7:22 am

Perhaps a private investor could step up to the plate and fund a trip for Ralston and even a few others (family should pay their own way unless it’s a holiday) to North Carolina to get a first-hand look at what they have done with transportation. Kyle could even go along and bring back something more than his opinion on the matter, biased as it would still be.

A Frank Zappa

February 9th, 2011
7:28 am

Let’s leave the great art of poor-mouthing our own team to the football coaches.

You made me spew my coffee. I almost coulda made some yellow snow even.

David

February 9th, 2011
7:47 am

It’s very interesting the Woodrow Wilson bashers out there.

So dumb.

Sean Smith

February 9th, 2011
7:55 am

The other really good thing about Charlotte is the near total lack of racial tension. You can go weeks without reading an editorial involving race issues. How do the white and black folks of Charlotte manage to get along and have a pretty nice city????

They also dont have nearly the amount of murders, 66 in charlotte last year and 149 in Atlanta.

charles

February 9th, 2011
8:00 am

Amen, Kyle. As a former N Carolinian, I am very concerned about the direction of that state. It hummed along beutifully during the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but now the growth and out of control spending is starting to catch up. Crime is a huge problem both in Charlotte and Raleigh, foreclosure is a mess, schools are cutting jobs, large office buildings and high rise condo buildings sit completley empty, racial tension is high. The future of NC is not so bright in my opinion. I feel much better about the longeterm prospects in GA!

charles

February 9th, 2011
8:04 am

Sean, no racial tension in Charlotte? Have you ever spent a minute of your life there? That city is full of racial tension. Just in the last couple of weeks the headlines on CO have been covered with news of NAACP boycott of NC b/c schools opened on MLK day. Prior to that it was the thousands of blacks protesting and disrupting school board meetings b/c “black” schools were being closed. Also, comparing murder rate is apples and oranges. Metro Atlanta is three times the size of metro Charlotte.

Ironwood

February 9th, 2011
8:14 am

I have lived in both cities in nice neighborhoods-Myers Park in Charlotte, Buckhead in Atlanta.
1. Atlanta is a much more violent city. It deserves it’s top 25 most crime ridden cities in the country per population. 2.There seems to be less integrity in Atlanta. I am coming to the belief that if someone’s lips are moving in Atlanta, they are telling you a lie. 3. Government in Atlanta is much less responsive. I called Fulton County Tax Commission trying to get an answer without avail. I had to call an elected official to get the tax commission to call me back with an answer. 4.It seems that public officials are crooks here-from the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools and the cheating scandal to the judge in DeKalb county that was removed from office to the land commissioner in Gwinnett county making money on public land deals. 5. Atlanta’s metro is better than Charlotte’s, but not as good as Paris’.

Grant Parker

February 9th, 2011
8:22 am

It’s “Tar Heel,” Kyle. I cannot speak with much authority about the other points you make, other than to note that the leaders in Charlotte do seem to have embraced mass transit more readily than authorities here. Nor do I think racial politics plays as big a role in Charlotte as it does here. That has crippled Atlanta for more than a decade.

E. Dunwoody

February 9th, 2011
8:24 am

Trying to find an alternative to traffic issues by utilitizing rail is a left-wing issue? Really?

Here Spot

February 9th, 2011
8:38 am

David

February 9th, 2011
7:47 am

It isnt dumb. Its very applicable. I suggest you study up my friend.

DebbieDoRight

February 9th, 2011
8:38 am

HDB – Congrats on being first!! PS: what the heck are you doing up at 5:35 am?!!! :shock:

Kyle: •North Carolina’s unemployment rate, at 9.8 percent, is just about the same as our 10.2 percent.

9.8 is not the same as 10.2. 10.2 wins!

•North Carolina was cited by the Tax Foundation as having one of the nation’s 10 worst business tax climates; Georgia is in the middle of the pack at No. 25.

Georgia sacrifices its employees for the sake of luring business to its state. The citizens of the state of Georgia make up for the “tax climate” by paying an excess of taxes that the business community would’ve usually picked up.

DebbieDoRight

February 9th, 2011
8:49 am

I still cannot believe that the idiots of this state passed the Non-Compete amendment in November. Had most of them had enough sense to research the topic, or simply to not vote on something they did not understand, then they would not have passed the egregious strike against the workers of this state.

In this age of “pop-media”, a lot of georgians saw the biased commercials put in effect by business, and believed what they saw. They didn’t even bother to research what the bill was about.

But, they WERE tricked into supporting the law. Georgia businesses have been trying for years to pass this thing into law; I was in a focus group 2 years ago and when they put the measure before the focus group, 100% of the group stated they’d vote NO on the bill (that’s when the bill had language that we could understand). So what did the business community do? They changed the wording, made it full of “legalese” so that the average person had no idea WHAT the heck the bill said, (In florida they passed a law that all bills going up for vote by the general public must be in plain english for the average citizen to understand).

I blame georgians for not reseraching what the heck they were voting for, but I also blame the sneaky, underhanded practices of the business community to enslave us with our own stupidity.

Road Scholar

February 9th, 2011
8:49 am

The speech made by a Repub in NC sounds just like the crap they say here. If you haven’t liked the past, lead! Get out in front! Of course we will stay transit challenged failing to make an investment in our future, just like the lawyers in Henry who were indicted for money laundering or the 55 (and counting) local banks that have failed. Me Me Me !

DebbieDoRight

February 9th, 2011
8:51 am

How can you tell an undercover David Dukes?

Just in the last couple of weeks the headlines on CO have been covered with news of NAACP boycott of NC b/c schools opened on MLK day.

There’s your sign.

carlosgvv

February 9th, 2011
8:57 am

Since Georgia is usually near or at the bottom in the Nation, it’s no wonder we look with envious eyes at any State we perceive is doing better.

Aquagirl

February 9th, 2011
8:59 am

We could have used some of that commiepinkosocialist rail the last two mornings when 285 was shut down. Or some commiepinkosocialist snowplows when our city was all but impassible for several business days.

It’s interesting to note those two problems were exacerbated by Republican-favored Tiny Kingdoms fighting over who is responsible for what. Our arterial roads suck and nobody agreed who should be clearing what roads when it snowed. Those small-government Republicans living in the far-flung exurbs whine like everyone else when they can’t make their 20+ mile commute. Imagine that.

Dirty Dawg

February 9th, 2011
9:17 am

With the NC legislature going over to the ‘dark side’, we’ll soon see how well the ‘progressive-minded’ cities, like Charlotte, fare with their ‘progressive/fascist/communist’ notions of building for the future. Not to engage in a little ’schadenfreude’, but given our (Georgia’s) recent performance, the only way we’re gonna keep up is if the North Carolinas start screwin’ it up as bad as we have since about ‘03.
Pardon me for being redundant, but with ‘conservative’ state legislatures working at odds with ‘progressive’ cities as we have for too many years the situation will only get worse. Remember, a house divided against itself, cannot stand.

Charles

February 9th, 2011
9:20 am

At least NC isn’t God-forsaken, like Georgia is!

jm

February 9th, 2011
9:29 am

Ironwood 8:14 – I think I’m a clone. I lived in Myers Park too. I’ll say Charlotte has its act together more so than in Atlanta. I think that is changing with the Reed administration. But 2 decades of poor city management, combined with dysfunctional state level government, and Atlanta has a lot of catching up to do (quality wise). And we live in a world where quality matters, not quantity.

Kyle Wingfield

February 9th, 2011
9:37 am

@HDB: I don’t necessarily agree that the best way to improve education, or to measure one’s commitment to it, is to throw more money at it. But since that’s the metric you picked…

The latest compilation of data I could find was from the National Education Association — i.e., the big teachers union. Some of their data is from the 2007-08 school year, some from 2008-09, some from 2009-10. You can find it here (the tables you want are in section H, starting on page 70 of the PDF): http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/NEA_Rankings_and_Estimates010711.pdf

By nearly every measure, Georgia spends more on k-12 education than North Carolina: per pupil, per capita, per $1,000 of income, as a share of the total state budget, and so on. In the few cases where it doesn’t, such as a couple of measures of *state* spending, the explanation usually is that in Georgia, *local* spending makes up a higher proportion of the total.

So education spending isn’t much of a reason, either.

Robert

February 9th, 2011
9:45 am

@A Frank Zappa – “Watchout where the huskies go and don’t you eat that yellow snow” I am thinking about moving to Montana soon to be a dental floss tycone – lol

Jefferson

February 9th, 2011
9:45 am

If the ink gets too red, the US gov’t can bail them out. Just friends helping friends.

Mike

February 9th, 2011
9:52 am

Georgia used to be the most progressive state in the South, but judging by the last few years, not anymore. That reason was why GA grea so much faster than Alabama, Mississippi, SC, and even NC.

Yeah, we a much lower budget gap, but what do we have to show for it? Crappy schools, congested roads in Atlanta with inadequate mass transit for a metro of its size, overgrown roadways in the spring/summer, and water issues. I’m not saying we need to spend like crazy as it is a good thing we have a lower deficit, but we need to do a better job of prioritizing and some stuff is worth paying for (like education and infrastructure).

Just look at the 2010 census… the projections for GA were 140,000 people short, yet NC gained more than expected. The backwater politics for the last several years are going to take its toll. I hope I am wrong and GA remains a popular place for people and jobs to relocate to, but we need to realize we are no longer the only game in town and we need to be more competitive.

NC better?

February 9th, 2011
10:03 am

Charlotte and North Carolina do some things better than Georgia. It’s not a partisan thing as Kyle would make it out to be. But, they do do things better in the areas of education and government management of environmental issues like stormwater and floodplain management. They are also blessed with alot more coastline (although it is hurricane fodder) and being within striking distance of Washington, D.C. We still have a better big city (Atlanta) than anything they’ve got and excel in other areas. But, they are doing some things that will put them in a stronger position in the long run.

Robert

February 9th, 2011
10:05 am

Governor Beverly Perdue, Democrat of North Carolina (elected 2008) is the sister of Georgia’s old Governor “Sonny” Perdue, Republican. I wonder if they ever discussed how both states could benefit from collaboration (jobs, education, etc.).

Mike

February 9th, 2011
10:07 am

And Kyle, when some of us talk about spending more on education, we don’t necessarily mean more per student. We mean putting more in the HOPE scholarship, in pre-k education, and how about coming up with something innovative? Does anyone in state government have good ideas anymore?

ronald

February 9th, 2011
10:09 am

I lived in Charlotte from ‘01 – ‘04. They consistently compare themselves to Atlanta. They have a “little brother” mentality toward ATL.

Mike

February 9th, 2011
10:22 am

I also used to live in Charlotte, but ended up moving to Atlanta because I like it better and I know many others who have. GA should embrace Atlanta, instead of hating it. And that’s another thing with NC… the state doesn’t hate its larger metro areas… and NC provides dedicated funding for expansion and operation of transit systems in the state unlike GA.

Fred

February 9th, 2011
10:24 am

Who is saying that education is not being cut in NC. The school systems in the state are being told to plan for a 10 to 15 percent cut in funding for the next school year. The Charlotte school system is closing several schools, looking at doing away with Pre K, and eliminating Jr. High sports. I lived in the Alpharetta area for close to 25 years. My daughter went through school in that area and graduated from UGA. I would take your schools over what I am seeing in NC any day.

Rafe Hollister

February 9th, 2011
10:31 am

Kyle is right, NC is a wannabe. Yes, the government schools are great in certain areas like Raleigh/Durham or Charlotte, but get out to Murphy or Willmington. The same with the roads, have you driven on what they call State roads in western NC?

We had a Convention in Atlanta, a Super Bowl, and the granddaddy of all the mighty Olympics. Is Atlanta better off today, I would argue not. Atlanta was a better place in the 70’s and 80’s due to the economic boom, job growth, young population, less congestion, better class of ruling politicians.

Junior Samples

February 9th, 2011
10:39 am

I guess Charlotte understands you to have to spend money to make money.
Certainly any “private-sector conservative” can agree with that.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 9th, 2011
10:41 am

Dear Kyle, you are hanging around the wrong people. Get out and meet some conservatives. And I don’t mean “republicans,” like Isakson or Chambliss, I mean conservatives.

Junior Samples

February 9th, 2011
10:42 am

So Kyle,

Previously you lambasted MARTA for its failings. And now you critize another city for getting it right?

Understanding that you favor mass transit with your wallet, this doesn’t add up.

HDB

February 9th, 2011
10:44 am

Kyle Wingfield
February 9th, 2011
9:37 am

It’s not the amount of spending that makes North Carolina education better than Georgia….it’s the FOCUS of the spending: STEM for K-12….and they also have a diversified college structure…..with community colleges along with their flagship institutions (UNC/NCSU/NCA&T/NCCU)…….

Georgia doesn’t have that vision yet…….

Kyle Wingfield

February 9th, 2011
11:02 am

HDB: I’ll take your word for it on STEM, though I note Gov. Deal outlined plans for STEM charters in his FY12 budgets. But Georgia doesn’t have a “diversified college structure”???

http://www.usg.edu/inst/

JB

February 9th, 2011
11:02 am

Yea, but love that NC BBQ….Lexington is the Mecca………Lexington #1 I believe is the best..

Real Conservative

February 9th, 2011
11:06 am

Kyle wrote that North Carolina was cited by the Tax Foundation as having one of the nation’s 10 worst business tax climates. If true, then why has so many businesses decided to open up shop in North Carolina instead of Georgia?

As their name implies, The Tax Foundation has one main criterion for their rankings, tax levels for business and wealthy individuals. Business is primarily interested in an educated workforce and a robust infrastructure, and low taxes or not, attracting business is going to be difficult if Georgia keeps dismissing these two important areas. No doubt, our water woes aren’t helping either.

detritusUSA

February 9th, 2011
11:10 am

All my children and their families live in the Charlotte area. When I visit, I find a clean, vibrant city that I’m unafraid to walk around in. Can’t say that about Atlanta.

The one problem I have is to get there I have to drive through South Carolina. Those war starting, don’t feed’um, crazy conservatives scare me, even more than the Georgia variety.

Thulsa Doom

February 9th, 2011
11:14 am

HDB,

What in the heck? Georgia doesn’t have a “diversified college structure?” We have many junior colleges along with the flagship institutions. Sounds like some kind of vague, meritless criticism made up on the spot.

Question Authority

February 9th, 2011
11:24 am

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher

People are economically ignorant and the government and its schools help insure that they stay that way. If we had sound money in this country none of this crap could ever go on. States and the Federal Government would have to live within their means. Instead, the Federal Reserve printing presses insure that there is plenty of cheap money for government boondoggles like light rail, political conventions and the like. The eventual collapse of the american dollar and economy will be a real eye opener for some. Hopefully they will finally learn something and abandon their current socialistic/fascistic/Keynesian way of thinking.

killerj

February 9th, 2011
11:27 am

Sounds like a perfect place to hold a big “Tea Party Rally”! GO TEA PARTY and I love South Carolina crazy,s.

atler8

February 9th, 2011
11:39 am

HDB: Your point is taken that Atlanta is no longer the financial center of the southeast, which it hasn’t been for 20 or more years. And yes, Suntrust Bank used to be named Trust Co. of Georgia before it merged with the larger Sun Bank of Florida. But because Trust Co. of Georgia was stronger financially speaking, the headquarters was placed in Atlanta where it remains today. The top brass at the bank would probably be interested to know that they are not based in Atlanta.
Speaking in terms of asset size, Suntrust is considered to be a very large bank, albeit not a “money center” sized institution.

Sean Smith: You’ve pegged the number of murders in the City of Atlanta at 149 for 2010 which is incorrect. In late November the number was about 10 ahead of the pace at the same time in 2009 which ended up at 80-90 & turned out to be the LOWEST number recorded in Atlanta since 1963! I have not been able to find the exact final number for 2010 but it was barely 100 if even that high.
When I moved here in 1979 there were regularly 260-285 murders per year in Atlanta proper & the Georgia State Patrol was called in to augment security in the city. Atlanta has made tremendous progress since then in the reduction of city murders.

Kyle: My personal experience with my friends in Charlotte was always that we were viewed as the big brother against which they measured themselves. Whether in a visit to Charlotte or in phone conversations, I was constantly reminded of their beat Atlanta/Georgia mentality. I believe that it may have been media driven though as they took great delight in telling me of every incident noted in their media that pointed out the foibles or warts on the face of Atlanta.