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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NC trend: The N.C. Tribune news you may have missed

Our paid daily newsletter provides detailed interviews with key lawmakers, Q&As with other political leaders and lots of stories tracking daily happenings at the state legislature as the 2023 long session gets under way.

Here’s some of what you missed. Sign up today at nctribune.com.

UNC CHAPEL HILL, DUKE OFFER TUITION DEALS

Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill rolled out plans to make their institutions
more affordable.

Duke will provide “full tuition grants” starting this fall for undergraduates from North or South Carolina who come from families with incomes of $150,000 or less.  

 UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the university will “provide free tuition and required fees” to incoming
in-state undergraduates whose families earn  less than $80,000 a year.

The plans differ greatly. For those from families with incomes of $65,000 or less, Duke will supplement the free tuition with  “financial assistance for housing, meals and some course materials or other campus expenses, without the need for student loans.”

The Duke program is retroactive to cover existing students who meet the qualifications. That is not the case with the UNC Chapel Hill program, which will start in 2024.

Duke’s income thresholds are more generous, given the vast differences in estimated cost of attendance between Duke ($83,260) and UNC  Chapel Hill ($26,100). 

One can’t gig UNC for only covering North Carolinians, as it’s a
state-supported school. The private school also has more money in reserves to spend than its neighbor. Duke has a $12 billion endowment. UNC’s is $3.1 billion.

TOP RATING FROM CNBC DIVIDES COOPER, BERGER

There’s been no shortage of crowing among North Carolina’s political class about CNBC naming North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business for the second year in a row. 

The announcement brought Gov. Cooper some national TV time, which he used to argue that it’s “important for us to invest in the education and well being of our people to continue our amazing success.”

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger credited the “vision and plan” Republicans had
“when we won control of the General Assembly back in 2010.” He also said Cooper’s “obstructionism and vetoes of business-friendly legislation” have “done nothing to slow
our momentum.”

The mutual departure from the bipartisanship that normally accompanies economic development success was noteworthy because CNBC warned “that the political detente
that has helped the state achieve its business success may have come to an end.”

The four most powerful state economies in the U.S. are those of the four largest states by population. California, Texas, New York and Florida  rank Nos. 25, 6, 20 and 8, respectively, in the CNBC survey.

All states have pluses and minuses. North Carolina and Texas rate 1-2 for workforce,
which takes into account the number of STEM workers, and those with four-year or associate’s degrees or industry-recognized certification. California and Florida aren’t far
out of the top 10.

Another North Carolina strength is “economy,” which CNBC includes job growth, GDP
and fiscal condition.  We’re No. 3, behind Florida and Texas. New York is 12th, while California is 37th.

In K-12 education, North Carolina was No. 7, ahead of California (9) and New York (13). 

UNAUTHORIZED STREET TAKEOVERS ARE NOW ILLEGAL

North Carolina has enacted a new law to crack down on  “unauthorized street takeovers,” events that can attract dozens of cars and hundreds of spectators and disrupt traffic.

It’s a broader ban than the prearranged racing that’s long been illegal in North Carolina, covering the impromptu shows that have attracted media attention in Charlotte. Think “The Fast and the Furious.” 

The situation in Charlotte prompted Reps. Carolyn Logan and John Bradford, both from Mecklenburg, and other legislators to push it through the legislature, where the provision passed unanimously.

It’s not just a Charlotte problem, says Marie Evitt, director of government relations for the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association. “In a quick Google search, I found no less than five or six stories about this happening across the state.” 

“We’re seeing it more and more,” adds Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham. 

The bill makes it illegal to “operate a vehicle in a street takeover,” or “knowingly participate,” or “coordinate through social media,” facilitate or otherwise “commit an overt act in furtherance” of one.

 

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