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Civitas Capitol Connection

FEBRUARY 2014 VOL. 6, NO. 2

Inside NC Jobless Rate Plunges — p. 7 —

STATE OF Scandal

— p. 8 —

CHANGE Civitas Partisan Index Shows Party Shifts

which each district leans one way or the other. For example, a district whose voters allotted 5 more percentage points to the Democratic

candidates compared with the state average receives an index score of D+5. For example, House District 29 is D+34. In 2012,

no Republican ran against incumbent Rep. Larry D. Hall, a Democrat. The CPI shows that in 2012 House District 2

was dead even. In the election, however, Rep. W.A. “Winkie” Wilkins, the Democratic incumbent, CONTINUED ON page 4

Walter Williams, Gov. McCrory at CLC

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BY SUSAN MYRICK The Civitas Partisan Index has been updated to show the political balance of power in North Carolina as revealed in the 2012 elections. (Maps are at nccivitas. org/cpi2012) While it does not predict elections, the index reveals which districts lean Republican or Democratic, plus illuminating larger trends. Modeled after the Cook Partisan Voting Index that was developed for congressional districts, the Civitas Partisan Index (CPI) compares votes cast in each N.C. legislative district with votes cast in the state as a whole. The end result is a letter (D or R) followed by a number, indicating the extent to

Walter E. Williams

BY CIVITAS STAFF The Friday night keynote speaker for the Civitas Institute’s upcoming Conservative Leadership Conference (CLC) is one of our time’s most knowledgeable and articulate defenders of freedom: Dr. Walter E. Williams. Civitas is proud to announce that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will also address CLC. Williams is noted for his pithy articulation of conservatism. Take “social justice.” Of that liberal slogan, Williams has said, “What’s just has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: ‘I keep what I earn, and you keep what you earn.’ Do you disagree? Well, then, tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you — and why.” Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, and has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics since 1980. He has appeared on scores of radio and TV proCONTINUED ON page 6

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February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

Sen. Lee Stays on the Offensive in D.C.

BY JIM TYNEN One reason I’m looking forward to our Conservative Leadership Conference is that it’ll be interesting to see what Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is up to. He’s been reviled by the Left, and some on the Right, since he was a leader in the federal government “shutdown” last fall. But if you had asked me four years ago if Mike Lee would be demonized as a threat to both Democrats and Republicans, I would have laughed. In 2010, he was running for the U.S. Senate when I was a newspaper opinions editor in Utah. He seemed a reliable Republican who could appeal to Utah’s conservative base yet not rock the boat. Far from a fiery demagogue, he seemed serious, even stolid. Lee seemed to be part of the Utah political establishment. All that stood out was that he was especially earnest in his admiration for the Constitution. No surprise there: His father, Rex Lee, was U.S. Solicitor General under President Reagan. Young Mike literally discussed the Constitution over the family dinner table. But of course you could fill a small library with books about people who went to Wash-

ington to Change the Way Government Works, only to become discouraged. So it was to my surprise that Lee began to join with Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and a few others in really challenging the D.C. establishment. Here’s what shocks and frightens Washington: Rather than losing his faith in limited government, Lee is evidently more

stop working. They’ll get a subsidy check – but they’ll miss many chances of improving themselves. In other words, they’ll be left on the bottom rung of the economy, and that rung will grow more and more crowded as millions of workers are edged out of the labor pool. And it’s not just Obamacare. A few days after that, Lee blasted the bloated $1 trillion Farm Bill that passed the Senate. Here too, he not-

Lee, it seems, has only grown more alarmed and indignant at Washington’s power grabs. Yet he holds out hope for all of us. In his State of the Union response he said, “I am confident that our best days as a nation are ahead of us - not because of government, but because within America’s diverse society of individuals and families, neighborhoods and churches, businesses and communities, freedom

are ahead of us – not because of government, but because within America’s diverse society of individuals and families, neighborhoods and churches, businesses and communities, freedom doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Freedom means we’re all in this together.” alarmed than ever at how the growing power of Washington threatens our society. For example, he takes the offensive in the debate over inequality. Liberals are already trying to make inequality their theme for 2014 and beyond. Rather than being on the defensive, Lee emphasizes that the root of much in-

doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Freedom means we’re all in this together.” You can see why I’m looking forward to Lee’s appearance at our Conservative Leadership Conference. To find out how to sign up to hear him and a raft of other dynamic speakers March 28-29 in Raleigh, go to CLC2014.com. 

NAME

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MANAGING EDITOR Jim Tynen jim.tynen@nccivitas.org

CI T Y STATE ZIP

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tiffany Taylor Editorial & Advertising 100 S. Harrington St. Raleigh, NC 27603 phone: 919.834.2099 | fax: 919.834.2350

The Civitas Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to advancing conservative and free-market principles in the state of North Carolina. All non-advertising content published in Civitas Capitol Connection may be republished as long as appropriate credit is given and it is published in its entirety. © 2014 by John W. Pope Civitas Institute

ed, “Congress favors special interests over the well-being of the people. For all the talk we hear in this chamber about inequality, we nonetheless seem oblivious to its causes. This bill – and thousands of other bills, laws, and regulations like it – are the root cause of our shortage of opportunity in America today.”

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PUBLISHER Francis X. De Luca francis.deluca@nccivitas.org

Civitas Capitol Connection is a publication of the Civitas Institute

Right on cue, a few days after the speech, the Congressional Budget Office released a new study of the Affordable Care Act. The CBO indicated that the economy will lose the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers by 2017. Because of Obamacare’s perverse incentives, workers will be prodded to

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equality lies in government’s relentless expansion. In his reply to the State of the Union address on TeaPartyExpress.org, Lee noted that much of today’s inequality really comes “from government – every time it takes rights and opportunities away from the American people and gives them instead to politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests.” He capped off his critique with a zinger: “Obamacare is the Godzilla of inequality.”

“I am confident that our best days as a nation

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February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

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Jobless Benefits: You Get what You Pay For BY BRIAN BALFOUR “You get what you pay for” goes one old adage. And in North Carolina, it appears that we had for years been paying to secure one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. But when you stop paying people not to work, more people actually go back to work – as the latest unemployment figures attest. The state legislature, in an attempt to pay back $2.5 billion borrowed from the federal government to cover unemployment benefits, reformed the unemployment insurance program last year. Federally funded extended unemployment benefits were discontinued as of the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

In July, North Carolina’s unemployment rate stood at 8.9 percent, fifth highest in the nation and a full 1.5 percentage points above the national average of 7.4. By the end of December, the state’s unemployment rate had dropped to 6.9 percent, only 0.2 percentage points above the national average. Our comparative ranking improved to 19th highest in the nation. Indeed, North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped by 2 full percentage points from November 2012 to November 2013, the largest such drop of any state, with three-quarters of that decline coming since the unemployment changes.

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Moreover, North Carolina added nearly 40,000 jobs in the three months ending in November. By contrast, the state had lost more than 45,000 jobs in the first 8 months of 2013. The trend lines are clear: North Carolina’s jobs picture has drastically improved since the extended unemployment benefits were cut off last summer. Granted, the elimination of the extended unemployment

benefits cannot entirely explain the positive trend. But the idea that more people being paid to work versus being paid not to work is better for the economy should be so patently obvious only the most ideologically blinded zealots would try to deny it. After all, you get what you pay for. A version of this article originally appeared in the Raleigh News & Observer 

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NC Voter Petition to Fight Common Core Standards Common Core education standards are harmful to children, erode parental rights and local control and in many cases do not represent an improvement in existing academic standards. I ask the NC legislature to withdraw the state of North Carolina from participation in the program.

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Critics may claim the unemployment rate is dropping more sharply since the end of extended unemployment benefits only because more people are giving up looking for work, retiring or returning to school, thus dropping from the labor force. According to a report by Wells Fargo economists, however, the monthly rate of those dropping out of our state’s labor force has actually slowed since the summer. So much for that theory.

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February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

CPI Shows Party Shifts in North Carolina CONTINUED from page 1

received more than 56.7 percent of the vote. Citing health concerns, he recently announced he would not seek re-election. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Gene McLaurin has said he plans to run for reelection in District 25. The CPI lists the district as R+3. In using the CPI, it’s important to remember that in elections incumbency, the candidates’ traits and experience, the campaigns, fundraising and current political issues can play powerful roles. The CPI is based on voter data from presidential election year results for Governor and other Council of State offices, i.e. Lieutenant Governor, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Labor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Treasurer and State Auditor. We believe that state-level races give a more accurate picture of how voters will vote in a state legislative race than do national races. In 2012 the newly drawn legislative districts were applied to the 2012 vote for Governor and all Council of State races except the Attorney General’s race, which

was uncontested. Though we couldn’t compare individual districts in this CPI with the last one, because of redistricting, we were able to compare average voting patterns from 2008. While

A look at the CPI’s history also reveals voting trends. In early 2008, the Civitas Institute premiered the North Carolina Partisan Index using data from the 2004 General Election.

correctly predicted by the CPI model. Compared with the 2004 CPI model, the 2008 CPI showed a greater concentration of Democratic-leaning voters in the urban popula-

seven most populous North Carolina counties. In 2010, Republicans became the majority in both the House and Senate in part by winning in 17 districts where the CPI indi-

it is true that historically in Council of State races North Carolinians tend to vote for Democratic candidates, in the 2012 CPI we see a possible shift in that voting pattern. In the 2008 election, the average Council of State vote (looking at only votes for Democratic or Republican candidates) was 53.4 percent Democratic and 46.6 percent Republican statewide; in the 2012 model, the average vote statewide was nearly even: 50.6 percent Democratic to 49.4 percent Republican.

In the 2008 CPI, of the 60 contested legislative seats, all but 10 seats went to the dominant party as indicated by the CPI. (Three seats had a neutral CPI). Among the 10 districts that were not in line with the CPI score, eight were in the range of R+3 to D+3, and most involved races with multi-term incumbents, well-known challengers, or significant spending differences between the candidates. When the value of incumbency is taken into account, the outcome of all but one state House race was

tion centers. While voters in most of the state were somewhat more likely to vote for Republican statewide candidates in 2008 compared with 2004, voters in much of Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties favored Democratic candidates more heavily. In fact, 19 of the 21 state House districts that voted significantly more Democratic in 2008 compared to 2004 – districts whose CPI moved more than 3 points Democratic – were in those

cated a majority of voters prefer Republicans but at the time the seat was held by a Democrat. In addition, three more districts were won by Republicans that held a neutral value. The seven districts won by the Republican candidates in 2010 that were not in line with the CPI score ranged from D+1 to D+4. We invite you to check out your own legislative districts on the CPI at nccivitas.org/ cpi2012. You’ll get valuable insights on this year’s campaigns and elections. 

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February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

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Freedom Is…

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

DR. WALTER E. WILLIAMS Economist and Commentator

DAN FOREST N.C. Lt. Gov.

PAT McCRORY

PHIL BERGER

N.C. Senate President Pro Tem

N.C. Gov.

U.S. SEN. MIKE LEE (R-Utah)

March 28-29 • Raleigh, NC CLC2014.COM

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6

February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

Walter Williams, Gov. McCrory to Speak at CLC CONTINUED from page 1

grams, and is an occasional guest host on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” He writes a weekly column syndicated in 140 newspapers and various websites, and he is the author of more than 150 articles in scholarly journals. Formerly Mayor of Charlotte, McCrory was inaugurated as governor in January 2013. He has pursued a program of returning North Carolina to prosperity by focusing on three key areas: the economy, education and efficiency, and last summer he signed the most sweeping set of conservative reforms enacted in any state this year. Held March 28-29 in Raleigh, CLC will highlight what “Freedom Is,” and how we can nurture it this year and the years ahead. An array of leading political leaders, experts and commentators will educate and empower the concerned citizens who take part. For more information, see the registration form below, or go to CLC2014.com. Freedom is vulnerable if vote fraud is a risk, and CLC speaker Catherine Engelbrecht will tell attendees what they can do to keep elections fair and honest. She is founder and President of the True the Vote initiative, a citizen-led effort to restore honor and integrity to our electoral system. Another speaker will highlight an essential value our

age often ignores. David J. Bobb, executive director of citizen education for Hillsdale College, wrote the recent book Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Great-

a national grassroots organization that serves citizens in their fight for more individual freedom and less government control. An economist by training, Kibbe is a well-respected policy

• Erin Tuttle, an Indiana mother who co-founded Hoosiers Against Common Core, which helped put the brakes on Common Core in that state.

• Radio talk-show host Jason Lewis, well-known in North Carolina from his tenure at WBT in Charlotte. • State Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger.

At last year’s CLC, attendees were inspired and empowered by the speakers and breakout sessions. This year’s slate promises to deliver the same kind of excitement.

est Virtue. At CLC, Bobb will discuss why Americans must rediscover and reawaken this utterly indispensable, alarmingly dormant national virtue before it’s too late. Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks,

expert, best-selling author and political commentator. Other announced speakers include: • U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (RUtah), one of the staunchest voices for conservative values in Congress.

• Terrence O. Moore, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, has been one of the foremost critics of the Common Core, and is known for pointing out that the standards are “The Story-Killers.”

• Noted Wall Street Journal writer and economist Stephen Moore. • Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. More speakers will be announced as CLC draws closer. Go to CLC2014.com for the latest news, or to register. 

CLC 2014 REGISTRATION FORM Please fill out this form in its entirety. To submit, cut out and mail to CLC 2014 c/o Civitas Institute, 100 S. Harrington St., Raleigh, NC 27603

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February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

2008-2013 Unemployment Rate Comparison

Unemployment Update

Stats Show N. Carolina’s Unemployment Falling BY lee brett Last summer, North Carolina had the third-highest unemployment in the country. But there is mounting evidence that the “Carolina Comeback” touted by Gov. Pat McCrory is indeed in full swing. The latest unemployment statistics for December 2013 rank North Carolina 31st among the states, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. For months, the state jobless picture has continually improved relative to that of other states. North Carolina’s counties are looking increasingly healthy. Because the Employment Security Commission (which prepares labor statistics) does not adjust unemployment figures at the county level, the only available figures do not account for seasonal fluctuation. As

percent in November, only three counties exceeded that mark in December. Among the major metropolitan areas, the picture is also improving. Three out of the 14 major metro areas had unemployment below 6 percent (seasonally adjusted). Durham-Chapel Hill had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. Asheville and Raleigh-Cary had rates of 5.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. Only one metropolitan area had unemployment rates over 10 percent: the Rocky Mount area had 10.1 percent. Rocky Mount shows signs of gradual improvement – in November, its unemployment rate was 10.8 percent. All told, it appears that the labor market in North Carolina is making a significant recovery. 

a result, it is important to note that these figures would likely be slightly higher if properly adjusted. At any rate, December figures show that 17 counties were below 6 percent unemployment (not adjusted for seasonal fluctuation). Orange County had the lowest unemployment (4.1 percent), along with Chatham County (4.4 percent) and Polk County (4.6 percent). Scotland County had the highest unemployment at 12.6 percent, while Graham and Edgecombe counties also lagged behind (12.2 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively). Still, even the worst-off counties saw decreased unemployment rates: Scotland County, for example, had 13.5 percent unemployment in November. Although six counties had unemployment rates over 10

5  Years  of  Unemployment  in  North  Carolina   12.0%  

Unemployment Reform Implemented in NC

11.0%  

10.0%  

9.0%  

8.0%  

United  States  

10-08 12-13

County

10-08 12-13

Alamance

7.1

6.4

Johnston

6.1

5.8

Alexander

7.9

6.2

Jones

6.8

8

Alleghany

6.6

7.1

Lee

8.2

8.3

Anson

9.5

7.7

Lenoir

7.8

7.4

Ashe

6.3

8.3

Lincoln

7.2

6.7

Avery

5.6

7.5

Macon

5.3

7.3

Beaufort

7.3

8

Madison

5.7

5.2

Bertie

7.5

9

Martin

6.9

7.5

Bladen

8.1

9.9

Mcdowell

8.1

7.6

Brunswick

6.9

8.2

Mecklenburg

6.6

6.7

Buncombe

5.1

4.8

Mitchell

7.7

8.5

Burke

8.6

7.3

Montgomery

8.3

7.3

Cabarrus

6.4

5.9

Moore

6.4

6.4

Caldwell

8.3

7.5

Nash

8.6

8.2

Camden

5.4

6.6

New Hanover

5.4

6.3

Carteret

5

6.4

Northampton

7.7

7.7

Caswell

8.2

6.6

Onslow

5.8

6.5

Catawba

7.9

7.3

Orange

4.2

4.1

Chatham

5.5

4.4

Pamlico

5.7

8.3

Cherokee

8.7

9

Pasquotank

6.4

8.8

Chowan

8.5

7.7

Pender

6.4

8

6

6.6

Perquimans

6.7

7.5

Person

Clay Cleveland

8.5

7.3

7.3

6.9

Columbus

8.1

9

Pitt

7

6.5

Craven

6.2

7.5

Polk

5

4.6

Cumberland

6.8

7.7

Randolph

6.7

6.3

Currituck

3.6

5.9

Richmond

9.5

9.2

Dare

4.2

9.4

Robeson

8.1

9.7

Davidson

7.4

6.9

Rockingham

7.9

7.5

Davie

6.9

6.1

Rowan

7.2

6.8

Duplin

5.9

7.2

Rutherford

8.7

9.2

Durham

5.4

5.1

Sampson

5.4

6.3

Edgecombe

11.4

11.6

Scotland

11.7

12.6

Forsyth

6.3

6.1

Stanly

7

6.2

Franklin

6.7

6.1

Stokes

6.1

6

Gaston

7.7

7.2

Surry

8.3

6.9

Gates

5.2

5.9

Swain

5.5

9.7

Graham

8.2

12.2

Transylvania

5

6.6

Granville

7

6.8

Tyrrell

6

8

Greene

7

6.7

Union

6

5.5

Guilford

6.7

6.9

Vance

9.8

9.2

Halifax

9.7

10

Wake

5

5

Harnett

7.1

7.6

Warren

9.7

9

Haywood

5.7

5.7

Washington

7.2

8.4

Henderson

5.1

4.9

Watauga

4.1

5.6

Hertford

6.6

7.4

Wayne

6.3

6.6

Hoke

6.3

8

Wilkes

8.2

7.4

Hyde

4.6

10

Wilson

7.9

9

Iredell

6.5

6.5

Yadkin

6.1

5.4

Jackson

4.3

5.8

Yancey

7.2

7.8

Nov-­‐13  

Jul-­‐13  

Sep-­‐13  

May-­‐13  

Jan-­‐13  

Mar-­‐13  

Nov-­‐12  

Jul-­‐12  

Sep-­‐12  

May-­‐12  

Jan-­‐12  

Mar-­‐12  

Nov-­‐11  

Jul-­‐11  

Sep-­‐11  

May-­‐11  

Jan-­‐11  

Mar-­‐11  

Nov-­‐10  

Jul-­‐10  

Sep-­‐10  

May-­‐10  

Jan-­‐10  

Mar-­‐10  

Nov-­‐09  

Jul-­‐09  

Sep-­‐09  

May-­‐09  

Jan-­‐09  

Mar-­‐09  

6.0%  

Nov-­‐08  

7.0%  

County

North  Carolina    

Ashe 8.3

Alleghany 7.1

Camden Gates Northampton Warren 6.6 Currituck Stokes Rockingham 5.9 Vance 7.7 9 Hertford Caswell Person 6 5.9 7.5 Halifax 9.2 7.4 Perquimans Watauga 6.6 6.9 Granville 10 Pasquotank Wilkes 7.5 5.6 6.8 Yadkin Orange Forsyth 8.8 7.4 MitchellAvery Franklin 5.4 Guilford 4.1 Bertie Chowan 6.1 7.5 8.5 7.7 Durham 6.1 6.9 9 Alamance Caldwell Nash Davie 5.1 Yancey Tyrrell 6.4 Madison 7.5 Alexander 8.2 Edgecombe Washington 6.1 Martin 6.2 Iredell 11.6 7.8 8 5.2 Davidson 8.4 7.5 Wake Burke 6.5 6.9 Randolph Chatham Wilson Dare 5 Catawba 7.3 Buncombe McDowell Rowan 6.3 4.4 9 9.4 Haywood Pitt 7.3 4.8 7.6 6.8 5.7 6.5 Swain Johnston Lincoln Greene Beaufort Lee Hyde Graham 9.7 Rutherford 5.8 Cabarrus 6.7 6.7 8 Montgomery 8.3 10 Henderson 12.2 Harnett Wayne 9.2 Jackson 5.9 7.3 Polk Stanly Gaston 4.9 7.6 6.6 Moore Cleveland 5.8 Lenoir 4.6 6.2 Cherokee 7.2 Mecklenburg Craven Transylvania Macon 6.4 7.3 Pamlico 7.4 Clay 9 7.5 6.6 7.3 6.7 8.3 6.6 Jones Cumberland Hoke Union Richmond Sampson 8 7.7 Duplin 8 5.5 9.2 Anson 6.3 7.2 7.7 Scotland Carteret December 2013 12.6 6.4 Onslow

Unemployment Rate by County 4.100000 - 5.400000 5.400001 - 7.000000 7.000001 - 8.500000 8.500001 - 10.000000 10.000001 - 12.600000

nccivitas.org

Surry 6.9

Robeson 9.7

Bladen 9.9

Columbus 9

Pender 8

6.5

New Hanover 6.3 Brunswick 8.2

*Data is from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division


8

February 2014 Civitas Capitol Connection

Scandal BY ANGELA HIGHT A Rocky Mount City Councilman recently raised eyebrows of many North Carolinians when he suggested a community leader was racist because he voiced concerns about the proposed Event Center. Another questionable action: The city approved and paid for a study for VISIONS Inc. — of which Councilman Lamont Wiggins is a board member, and he did not recuse himself from the vote. But more eyebrows should be raised about the Event Center itself. While scandal may not be new to Rocky Mount, building an Event Center in downtown could turn into one. AECOM, hired by the city, recently released the Rocky Mount Event Center Feasibility Study, and reading it one might conclude the Event Center is not a good fit for the community. (See tinyurl.com/ RockyMtEC.) The study looks at a variety of components such as hotels, public funds, other cities’ event centers and other concerns from the community. The more you read, the worse its prospects sound. Table 2 (Page 9) points out that the Event Center will run with a net operating loss at least through 2025 – with no sign the losses will end after that date – for a total loss of $4,313,000. That number, moreover, doesn’t account for proposed hidden costs, such as charging everyone parking to attend events, raising the local sales tax by 0.25 percent, rais-

Venue Plan’s Rocky Assumptions ing the occupancy (hotel) tax by 1 percent, and adding a 1 percent food and beverage tax. Remember, if just one variable changes then the city will lose even more money. Another concern is put forth on page 23. This part of the study talked about the local hotels. While there are plenty of hotels in the Rocky Mount area, and the

nience? Are there any interested parties in building one downtown? And would this inspire the city to subsidize such a venture? Once again there are many questions of if/when that would need to be answered about lodging before the Event Center could be built. Any search on the Internet will bring up how event centers around the

occupancy was at 61.7 percent of capacity in 2012, the study clearly states that “currently, there are no hotels in downtown Rocky Mount.” This suggests there would be a need to bring hotels to downtown. If the hotels are not brought to downtown, would this affect the forecasted numbers? Would there be fewer events booked because of the inconve-

state have never lived up to their potential. One sterling example: “Randy Parton Theatre Still Haunts Roanoke Rapids.” That venture, which flopped in its original form, less than a half-hour drive from Rocky Mount, is one of several projects in which a town was given false hopes by local officials. Even in looking at other Event Centers, the study

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• The facility should not be downtown, due to the lack of hotels and other development and attractions. • Should be built with private money instead of public money. Citizens in the Rocky Mount area need to do their homework about the proposed Event Center and decide whether or not this would be a good idea — re-

the community should be interested in: • A new facility would not be a good use of public funds. • The community has more important needs. • Existing facilities already serve the events market.

gardless if someone calls you a racist. The citizens of Nash and Edgecombe counties will need to stick to the issues as to why this project has so shown many red flags, and at the next election remember how the City Council dealt with the matter. 

From the Rocky Mount Event Center Market Feasibility Study

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couldn’t help noting that all of them ran millions of dollars in the red. The people of Rocky Mount need to research and compare the impact of the Event Center would have on the community — and their wallets. Page 51 includes results from a questionnaire and highlights some residents’ concerns. These are comments that all members of

Scandal is a regular column in Civitas Capitol Connection that will explore public corruption in NC Government. Have a local corruption story? Email corruption@nccivitas.org or call 919.834.2099.


Civitas Capitol Connection February 2014