An editorial from the Wilmington, NC newspaper:
Scientists who know a lot more than the policymakers who would second-guess their painstaking research and hard data are telling us that not only is it possible that the sea levels will rise and the Earth will warm, but they say it is already happening. We can choose to ignore the research of people smarter than we are, at our own risk, or we can make sensible coastal policies that recognize the inevitable – and already well known, in a state with a 301-mile coastline – dangers of building on spits of land that are shaped, carved and changed by a mighty ocean.
Apparently our Coastal Resources Commission is opting for the former. Rather than incorporating 100-year forecasts that project the ocean could rise more than 3 feet by 2100, the CRC voted to look just 30 years into the future in setting policy. Give them credit for looking at least that far ahead, but an informed regulatory body would want the benefit of a wealth of research that takes a look further down the road – even if actual policies are based on a shorter time frame.
We already know how erosion and hurricanes can devastate coastal communities; add mere inches of sea-level rise, and the effects could be even more dire. Policies must encourage greater setbacks, better building standards and must consider that there very well may come a time when gradual retreat is the smartest option.
Taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the eventual bill for policymakers' failure to address risks that we already know come with building too close to the ocean.
And this is similar to how the state may have ignored basic public finance economics: tax cuts lead to lower revenue. This is from an editorial on that from the Raleigh, NC paper:
The legislative session after the passage of a two-year state budget is referred to as the “short” session because it is devoted mainly to budget adjustments, and it takes less time for lawmakers to complete their work,
But the session that opens Wednesday will be short for another reason – the state is short of tax revenue. How short isn’t really known. Preliminary estimates are at least $445 million.
North Carolina has had to deal with shortfalls before, but rarely one of this type. The deficit this time is caused by the Republican-led legislature’s feckless tax cuts and wishful revenue projections. It is a manufactured fiscal crunch that will perpetuate spending levels that don’t meet the state’s needs. Indeed it will create new needs as investments in infrastructure and education are put off yet again.
The Republican mantra in North Carolina has been that tax cuts that benefit mostly the wealthy and corporations will make the state more competitive. But that hardly seems the case five months after the tax cuts took effect. North Carolina is one of only seven states where revenues are growing slower than expected, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty four states are on target to meet their revenue projections and nine are enjoying surpluses. ...
What may be most worrisome about the coming session is legislative leaders aren’t worried. Senate leader Phil Berger said last week that Republican policies have increased jobs, reduced unemployment and put more money into public education. It can be argued that those policies have stymied job creation and hidden the jobless by driving them out of the labor force. As for increased state investment in public schools, that would be news to local school superintendents and teachers.