HOOD: NC Has Gotten Freer Under Republican Legislature

RALEIGH – Political eras can be defined in different ways, whether it be a tug-o-war for power, partisan political battles, or by single controversial issues that shape the political dynamic. At its root, though, the political eras are shaped by whether they leave the people freer, or more controlled.

In North Carolina, the nearly-decade old Republican control of the N.C. General Assembly has been defined by an expansion of freedom. That’s according to John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, as he writes in a column highlighting the definitive qualities of the last 10 years of Republican control.

As published in the Chatham Journal:

“[…] maximizing freedom is a core conservative goal. Over the past 10 years of largely conservative governance in North Carolina, we have made significant progress toward that goal.

For starters, when government collects only the tax revenue required to fund core services and otherwise keeps its hands out of our pockets, that leaves us freer both to take care of our families and to support the enterprises and causes that best reflect our values. Thanks to fiscal restraint and a series of tax reforms, North Carolina now ranks 10th in the nation in tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation, up from 34th as recently as 2014.

Another legislative priority since 2010 has been lightening North Carolina’s regulatory burden. Lawmakers have repealed or rewritten many regulations. They have also changed the system itself, requiring state agencies to review old rules on a regular basis.

Combining both fiscal and regulatory measures, the Frasier Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America index now ranks North Carolina 11th in the nation, up from 19th in 2010.

Even in areas where government must by constitutional design or practical considerations play a significant role, such as education, conservatives generally argue that those who receive public services should be allowed to choose the provider that best meets their needs. We dislike monopolies here for precisely the same reasons we dislike monopolies in other sectors.

Since 2010, North Carolina has promoted choice and competition in education by removing a statewide cap on charter schools and giving students with special needs or modest incomes direct aid to attend the schools of their choice.

On the Cato Institute’s index of educational freedom, North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation, up from 21st as recently as 2012. […]”

Yes, while the Leftist down the street may define the Republican 2010s in North Carolina by ‘bigoted’ House Bill 2, ‘racist’ Voter ID, or ‘evil’ tax cuts, we’ve actually seen a marked improvement in our level of freedom.

Trending: Leave NCAE: Top reasons why you should cancel your North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) membership

It wasn’t a straight path, always taken at the same speed, or isn’t now without potholes to avoid moving forward, but the overall direction is clear. Lean more about how we got freer over the last 10 years, and where we can become freer still over the next decade, here.

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