"It has to be a mistake," says Derb Carter of the Southern Environmental Law Center, speaking of the latest Forbes rankings of the top 25 cities for business and careers. "Four are in job-killing, regulation-strangled North Carolina," he says, dripping with insincerity.
He's right: Raleigh is No. 2, Durham No. 14, Asheville No. 17 and Charlotte No. 18. "Hemp-ridden Asheville at No. 17? The drum circle should be particularly raucuos this afternoon," Carter adds.
The Southern Environmental Law Center and the state's other environmental groups have been locked in battle with the GOP-led General Assembly this session as it shaves off regulations to help out the business community.
If we're so regulation-choked, they argue, why the consistently high business and quality of life rankings?
The reason could be that other states have even more onerous job-killing regulations (e.g., Colorado, which has two cites on the list). And a dynamic analysis might be more appropriate -- other Republican state legislatures could be getting rid of job-killing regulations faster than North Carolina, driving us down the future rankings.
Also, don't forget a couple of things:
- existing state regulations could likely be improved with an incentive-based, driving North Carolina up the rankings
- some of those regulations are designed to protect public health, so "people-killing deregulation" is the outrageous rhetorical device on the other side of the issue
Another thing to remember is that regulatory reform often creates jobs mostly for the economists when reform takes the form of benefit-cost analysis requirements.