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Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Upward Mobility in N.C. Worse Than Nationwide

Posted by on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 8:32 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JEREMY LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy Lange
Happy rainy Thursday, everyone. It may be gloomy out there right now, but the sun is supposed to come out this afternoon. April showers and such. Here's your news. 

1. A new report shows that upward mobility in North Carolina is worse than it is nationwide, meaning low-income children in the state have few opportunities to get a good education and find work that lifts them out of poverty.

And the problem is looking to get worse as poor, minority children with the least education become a larger part of the population. The state's workforce could suffer as a result. 

The report was commissioned by the Charlotte-based John M. Belk Endowment and conducted by MDC, a Durham nonprofit. Here are some highlights from the News & Observer:

The report paints a grim picture laced with statistics:

▪ While mobility varies by location, only about one-third of children born into North Carolina families making less than $25,000 annually manage to climb into middle- and upper-income levels as adults.

▪ A family of one parent and one child needs income of $21 an hour to cover basic living expenses in North Carolina, yet only 26 percent of full-time jobs pay median earnings of that amount.

▪ A child born in Wilson to a family in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution has only a 1 in 4 chance of rising to middle- or upper-income categories. That child is most likely to remain poor for a lifetime.

“If we don’t change that, we’re going to have a corrosive civic culture and corrosive state and community,” Dodson said. “So this is really important. The upward mobility story, the American dream, is really central to our notions of a successful life. And the sad story is too many people are stuck, generation to generation, at the bottom.”

Data show that upward mobility is worst in the South, so North Carolina resembles some of its neighbors. The issue is especially acute in rural areas, but it also persists in pockets of prosperous urban areas such as Charlotte and the Triangle.
The report indicates that higher education is key to upward mobility, but that young people also need access to well-paying jobs.

MDC's president David Dodson says the situation isn't hopeless, given the state's strong university system and network of community colleges, and a "systemic approach and collaboration between education, business and economic development sectors" can bring about economic advancement. 

The report is embedded below. 

2. After PayPal pulled out of after Charlotte taking 400 jobs with it, Governor McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger responded by taking the high road and blaming Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts for having the audacity to pass a nondiscriminatory ordinance at the local level in the first place. 

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore called it “a radical bathroom policy” by the Democratic mayor and City Council.

“The governor warned her the legislature would take immediate action to protect North Carolina families,” they said in a joint statement. “If Jennifer Roberts, (state Attorney General) Roy Cooper and the far-left Political Correctness Mob she’s unleashed really care about the economic future of her city, they’ll … start telling the truth about this commonsense bathroom safety law.”

Charlotte Republican Rep. Dan Bishop, who helped draft the law, said PayPal’s decision was “not about HB2.”

“It is instead about a frenzy that the mayor and her allies on City Council have whipped up,” he said. “I think she might consider that she stop calling in airstrikes on her own position.”

Asked if he and fellow legislators bore any responsibility, Bishop said, “I don’t have any further comment.”

Roberts said she was troubled by PayPal’s decision.

“I urge the state to take responsibility for its harmful actions and to listen to its business constituency and quickly find a legislative remedy to HB2 before more jobs are lost,” she said.

Way to spin it, guys. 

Billy Graham's son just weighed in as well, because of course he did. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte is looking for a new state to live in, and it ain't Jennifer Roberts' fault. 

3. Lost in the kerfuffle over House Bill 2 is a McCrory pitch to give teachers raises this election year, because God knows that guy needs some good publicity right now.

From the library of his alma mater, Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, the governor proposed giving teachers a 5 percent raise Tuesday morning; that works out to around $2,000 per teacher, McCrory said, and veteran teachers could get bonuses up to $5,000. The governor also proposed a $2 million college scholarship program for students who want to go on to teach science and math and $5 million in private school vouchers for students with disabilities. 

The pay raises would cost the state $250 million and the bonuses $165 million, but you likely haven't heard a lot about them because, again, House Bill 2. 

4. In other news, both Trump's and Hillary's supporters "don't like them," country music legend Merle Haggard died yesterday at 79, and the two finalists for Durham police chief met the media. And this old couple could now lose their house to the Wake County School system after using it as collateral to bail their son out of jail. 

That's all I got. Thursday is Little Friday!

North Carolinas Economic Imperative Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity


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