Recent reports of personal bankruptcies resulting from job losses due to diminished business activity because of the COVID-19 pandemic once again stand in stark contrast to Governor Cooper’s political rhetoric and recent news announcements.

Earlier this week Cooper announced that UPS, benefiting from a $10.23 million taxpayer-funded grant, has promised to expand its facilities in Guilford County, providing 141 additional jobs, and to build a new facility in Alamance County that is anticipated to create 451 new jobs.

Last week, Austin Weinstein, a reporter for The North Carolina News Collaborative, a coalition of 27 statewide daily newspapers, authored a story highlighting the growing number of personal bankruptcies because of the current economic impacts of the governor’s mandates and public fears resulting from the pandemic. More than 3,000 bankruptcies were filed in the state between April and September of this year despite the federal, state and local efforts to forestall the economic impacts of closure mandates from government officials. And according to economists quoted in Mr. Weinstein’s article, more bankruptcies are expected.

On several occasions we have opined on this page about Cooper’s obvious callous unconcern about the impacts of his draconian restrictions on business operations in his efforts to control the COVID-19 contagion, while at the same time he has bragged about new business investment from large companies locating in North Carolina. In July we criticized the governor’s photo-op at a new healthcare lab opening in Durham and in another editorial we questioned the announcement that the United States Golf Association (USGA) is establishing a second headquarters facility in Pinehurst. All of these announcements have involved taxpayer-supported Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG).

Now the governor proudly announces another investment made by a major company that is benefiting from the state’s tax coffers.

As the governor announced the success of enticing large companies to invest in construction projects and promised jobs using JDIG funds, he has said absolutely nothing about the tens of thousands of North Carolinians currently out of work and suffering financially because of his mandated business restrictions.

Weinstein’s story on the state’s bankruptcy numbers noted that two coastal counties, Tyrrell and Washington, identified by the N.C. Commerce Department as economically distressed or Tier-1 counties, had the highest rate of individuals declaring bankruptcies. “There were more than four bankruptcies for every 10,000 residents in those counties,” Mr. Weinstein writes.

Other statistics noted in the article include the average age of (all) those who filed was 53 and that black residents “filed bankruptcy at a rate 50% greater than white residents.”

The governor’s continued interest in publicity announcements about big business investments that are benefiting economically sound communities such as Guilford and Alamance (Tier-3 counties) and not the economically distressed counties such as Washing and Tyrell (Tier-1) as the program is designed, is very telling.

These announcements show that the governor has little or no interest in the less populated, usually rural, low wealth counties. Considering these counties are of less political importance both in voting numbers and political contributions, it is understandable, however unfortunate, that Cooper has little interest in their economic wellbeing.

There is yet another observation that should concern all taxpayers. The governor continues to use taxpayer funds to entice large national and multi-national businesses to locate in the state while simultaneously ignoring the economic backbone of the state - small businesses.

Cooper’s unilateral mandates have had the greatest impact on the state’s small independent businesses, forcing many to close due to the lack of business or because the governor has mandated their closures. The result is that now, tens of thousands of unemployed workers and business owners are facing economic disaster and the need to declare personal bankruptcy.

The lack of economic leadership on the part of Governor Cooper should be a major campaign issue and voters should take note, demanding answers as he seeks a second term as the state’s highest elected official. More than politics is at stake in the current campaign. So are the livelihoods of North Carolina’s 10 million residents and the state’s economic stability.

(14) comments

kenwood

There he goes again. Harping, harping, harping on the governor. Why, because the pandemic we are experiencing has done damage to our small businesses. True across the country, and believe it or not in states with Democratic governors and those with Republican governors. The virus is not political in nature no matter how some claim it is.

Small business are hurting, no doubt about it. The Federal government is sitting on its hands regarding economic relief. All for political reasons connected to the upcoming elections. Why does not the good editor propose / support an economic relief package from N.C. State to our small businesses if he is so concerned about their livelihoods?

He seems more concerned about the livelihoods of our businesses than he does about the lives of our residents.

David Collins

Pretty simple , big businesses usually equals big campaign donations . Those tax incentives get recycled , courtesy of the tax payers , into political donations . Gotta keep focused on what really matters .

mpjeep

Heil Cooper! A perfect example of the danger in placing too much authority in one person’s hands.

David Collins

While the damage this virus does itself is not political , the responses to the virus appears to be quite political in nature .

The federal government has responded and provided relief but political wrangling , as usual , has delayed and effectively blocked further relief efforts . Refusal to set aside petty differences for the public good neuters both sides of Congress . Add in the fact that it is a general election year , so the anti incumbent folks have ramped up their four year quest to unseat the President to never seen before levels only adds to the misery .

The states are largely funded by the feds , so without that funding flowing there is precious little the states can do on any scale to help . State level politics is also adding to the problem by falling into lock step with those federal officials aiding the removal efforts of our President as well . Those efforts overshadow the responsibility and accountability to the residents they swore to represent .

The livelihoods of our small businesses are intertwined with the livelihoods of the residents far more than many realize . Think what would happen if they all shut down and all means all , come Monday . Think about it .

mpjeep

Every time I see Coop make a speech he says: wear face masks, wash your hands often and socially distance at least six feet apart.

Interesting picture on front page of The Raleigh News and Observer today.

An aide is seen pulling Cooper back by his arms from Biden because Coop had moved within a couple of feet of Biden to talk to him.

What's good for the goose should be good for the.......... or do as I say do not as I do.

mpjeep

I agree with a lot of what you say, kenwood.

But, as the top leader of NC, Cooper should have already started helping small businesses. After all, it was his decision, and his decision alone, to start shutting down businesses and keeping them shut down for this long.

When a governor makes these kinds of decisions, which are okay, he must put a plan in place to help them. These businesses didn’t decide to shut themselves down. This was a State Governor decision.

Cooper should be talking more to the federal government, but he’s letting politics stand in the way of helping folks in NC. Maybe he is looking for a position in the Biden administration.

There are 900,000 small businesses in NC, employing 1.6 million people/taxpayers. And he is spending money in lots of places for possible future companies and not the current population.

In March, Coop ordered the closing of bars and restaurants, etc. His staff submitted a proposed order, before his public announcement, to the Council of State members an hour before he enacted his plan, which was voted against by the Council. This should have raised a red flag to the citizens of NC.

Usually, the Governor would get concurrence from the Council of State, but is not a requirement.

Doesn’t really matter of the merits of Cooper’s shutdown, his decision to act without consultation and advice from the Council of State ought to concern any supporter of limited, constitutional government.

Rulings against Cooper in trial court and in the court of appeals has not stopped his continuing pursuit of control over state spending decisions involving federal funds.

Cooper is dragging that fight to the N.C. Supreme Court, ignoring the Appeals Court’s unanimous determination that the General Assembly “wields exclusive constitutional authority over the State’s purse.”

mpjeep

North Carolina is one of the lower ranked states in the nation in terms of what it’s like to work and survive during the pandemic and the economic recession it has spawned. That’s the finding in a new report from the group Oxfam America. North Carolina ranked 38th of the 52 jurisdictions rated — the 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico.

North Carolina has among the most coronavirus-related restrictions of any state in the country, a new report finds.

The Tar Heel State has the third most rules in place on a list that ranks the states with the fewest restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, according to results released Tuesday from WalletHub. North Carolina came in at No. 49 - Aug 11 news & observer

mpjeep

Take a look at this memo sent to North Carolina municipalities by DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen (Cooper's right-hand girl) yesterday. She encourages local governments to:

· Impose fines on people who decline to wear a mask.

· Impose fines on businesses that do not enforce the mask mandate.

· Further restrict restaurants.

· Further restrict mass gatherings.

· Cut off alcohol sales before 11 p.m.

· Close bars and nightclubs.

David Collins

Yup , all about total control of every aspect of our lives . Interesting that Cooper only extended restrictions for three weeks . Must be a reason . Isn’t there ?

mpjeep

Dan Forrest’s words, but I concur:

Governor Cooper is setting the stage to take North Carolina back to March.

His administration sent a memo earlier this week to cities and counties across the state asking them to pass local ordinances that impose dramatically tighter restrictions on people and businesses.

It is more obvious than ever with this latest stunt that his decisions are based on political science, not actual science.

Businesses will be closed, workers forced from their jobs, and our liberty and constitutional freedoms put in jeopardy once again.

drewski

I dunno jeep, seems like you can't see the trees for the forrest?

mpjeep

That's a good one, ski. Wish I'd thought of it.

David Collins

Look no further than EI .

mpjeep

Over the weekend, WBT released the following story about a leaked memo from Governor Cooper's office encouraging municipalities to take NC back to phase two. Read below 👇

"An internal memo from Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen to N.C. county managers was leaked by WBT's Brett Jensen and Mark Garrison on Friday.

The group asked for counties to reconsider stricter alcohol sales by moving last call to 9 p.m.; instead of the current cut-off at 11 p.m. Cooper also would like to see the number of people for indoor gatherings go from 25 to 10.

The overall recommendations by the governor's office are similar to his executive orders handed down at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic in March."

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