Forbes Magazine posted a story last Tuesday about what has happened to the North Carolina economy. The change began in 2013 (just before we got here). At that point the North Carolina General Assembly was controlled by Republicans and a Republican was governor.
The article reports:
Unemployment insurance (UI) reform in North Carolina continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. The 2013 UI reform, made possible by the Republican-dominated General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory, will enable $240 million in tax savings for state employers in 2016 alone, thanks to a UI Trust Fund that has grown to over $1 billion. In addition, the Tar Heel State’s 2013 tax reform bill will once again lower the corporate income tax rate, from 5% to 4% (it was 6.9% prior to 2013).
Please follow the link above to read the entire story, but here are a few of the highlights:
In February of that year, Governor McCrory signed a bill that reduced the maximum amount and duration of unemployment benefits to levels in line with those of neighboring states. This triggered the cutoff of long-term federal UI benefits being moved up by six months.
…Ironically, in his 2010 economics textbook, Krugman (Paul Krugman) expressed an opposing sentiment. “Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect,” wrote Krugman, explaining that granting more generous benefits “reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job.”
…Due to the reforms, however, the federal UI tax hikes were halted in 2014, and dropped back to standard rates after the debt was paid off last year. The result has been significant tax relief for job providers.
The second major change in 2013 was the recalibration of DES under the leadership of former state House Speaker pro-tempore Dale Folwell. Today, the call center answers 97% of incoming calls, up from a dismal 5%, and the average appeals process has been driven down to just 74 days from seven months.
…Today, North Carolina’s fiscal health is in far greater shape than it was in 2012, thanks to bold unemployment insurance reforms that will enable an additional $240 million in tax relief for state employers in 2016. For a roadmap to UI reform, states should look no further than North Carolina, where a crackdown on fraud has saved tax dollars and early debt repayment has enabled massive savings for job creators.
The numbers above are helping draw additional businesses and jobs to North Carolina. I like that, but I also wish that other states would follow our lead. The five-percent plus unemployment rate in America is a joke–the labor participation rate is dangerously low. I am hoping for all Americans to have a chance to find the jobs they want. Following the example set by North Carolina would be a step in that direction.