by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
For the second straight year, CNBC awarded North Carolina the top slot in its annual “Top State for Business” ranking.
Among the categories in which NC performed the best were workforce (#1), economy (#3), technology & innovation (#6), access to capital (#6), and education (#7).
CNBC describes North Carolina’s economy as “booming,” which tracks closely with the decade of success our state has experienced, dating back to the historic tax cuts of 2013. The rankings also credit North Carolina for its “solid state finances,” a testament to the conservative fiscal approach of the legislature for the past dozen years that included a significant reduction of state debt alongside building up reserves to their largest level in history.
Our state’s lofty ranking in the technology & innovation and access to capital categories are also noteworthy. The Senate’s decision to include an eye-popping $1.4 billion for the crony NCInnovation program makes even less sense in light of the ranking.
Facilitating more technological research and providing such research with greater access to capital head up the stated reasons for NCInnovation. But if North Carolina is already better than almost every other state in those categories, NCInnovation appears to be unnecessary. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for a program that amounts to nothing more than a solution in search of a problem?