The rural-urban divide has been widening since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011. The hopes of small towns and big cities should be compatible in a state where diversity of economics and lifestyles always has been appreciated. There are the urban centers in Raleigh and Charlotte, and the charm of smaller communities that offer a quieter existence.
Sadly, whether the issue has been tax credits for urban restorations or the redrawing of district lines, the state’s cities have taken some hits, and a big one has been a proposal to send state economic incentive money earned by urban areas to rural parts of the state to boost growth.
Republican Susan Martin of Wilson, a House member, has a better idea: loosen the rules whereby rural areas can qualify for state incentive money, but don’t “penalize people who are successful,” meaning take money from urban areas.
This makes good sense, and recognizes the fact that some companies need urban locations (nearby airports, big highways) to do business, while rural areas still may be able to use incentives to land other types of businesses.
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Let’s hope Martin’s idea gets serious consideration, as one way to help urban and rural areas prosper without pitting one against the other.