Civil war – can the south win this time?

In the most recent issue of Time magazine, titled “Rethinking Heaven,” in case you’re interested, there is a one-page article in the Economy section surrounded by  dozens of little geometric patterns reminiscent of an Alexander Calder sculpture.   The article is about state taxes, and as I read the article I discovered that all of those colorful modern art pieces are actually graphs of the magnitude of corporate, property, individual, and sales taxes in each state of our fine union.  The article said very simply (not much room left for words) that states are no longer concerned with outsourcing so much as with internal competition.  States are battling each other to keep businesses within their borders.  Incentives matter.  The name of the game is about being a place that people want to live; that’s where businesses will find the talent they’re looking for.  I scanned down the page looking for North Carolina.  In the bottom left corner I found a fat red blob threatening to spill over its reference axes.  The only state that seems to have higher taxes is New Jersey. Sigh.

Despite tremendous state taxes, North Carolina is still one of the most attractive places to do business, according to CNBC which is relieving. If you take a closer look at the ranking categories, you can see very clearly that North Carolina’s pull depends heavily upon the quality of our infrastructure and – super importantly – the quality of our workforce (for this survey, quality is based on the education of workers and the number of available workers).  Besides giving us the right to boast about how awesome North Carolinians are, this CNBC article highlights the obvious – to stay competitive, North Carolina needs to continue to take care of its workers.

Something not to do, then, is to make it harder for smart, valuable people to live comfortably in our state.  Robbing ten percent of the population of the right to ever get married would be one way to make it harder.  We would really shoot ourselves in the foot, though, if we denied healthcare benefits to the families of unmarried workers.

By this measure, Amendment One would be one of the dumbest missteps that North Carolina could make.  Many local businesses realize this and have officially taken a stance opposing the measure.   Even business giants like Bank of America recognize the catastrophe that there would be if Amendment One were to pass.  There’s not much to say here, friends.  North Carolina is top-ranked time and again as one of the best places to be for business.  We will do a tremendous number of North Carolinians a disservice if we pass Amendment One on May 8th – count not only homosexuals and unmarried couples as victims, but also students, the unemployed, and those currently working for businesses now.  And maybe some of the politicians who supported the amendment in the first place.

Photo Source: Florida Memory

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