DOWN: MOTORISTS: Starting Jan. 1, drivers will be paying 2.8 cents per gallon more for the state gas tax because the tax is based on wholesale gas prices, which jumped because of a Katrina-caused shortage.
UP: BIPARTISANSHIP: Erskine Bowles, the incoming UNC president, recently had U.S. Sen. Richard Burr as his guest at a North Carolina basketball game. Burr defeated Bowles in last year's Senate race.
DOWN: COMPETITION: With Diebold Election Systems bowing out of the competition, there is now only one voting machine company seeking a state contract. Diebold did not want to disclose information about its software.