The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File

What happened to nonprofit accountability?

Not too many years ago, nonprofits that received state money were under fire by legislators, mostly Republicans, who alleged all sorts of mismanagement and waste and called for strict reporting about how the money was spent. They asked the state auditor to oversee the tougher accountability measures.

Maybe they could weigh in now on the oversight of a nonprofit that's been in the news a lot lately, one that pays its CEO $4 million a year and gets a $100 million to administer the State Health Plan and seems unwilling to break down its costs.

The News & Observer reported Friday that the state has never audited the company's expenses. The paper also says that Blue Cross has not responded to repeated requests for a breakdown of its costs. Company spokesman Lew Borman said the expenses are not an issue. 

Shouldn't they be? Where's the outage about this nonprofit?

Enough about the burden on business

In the unlikely event that anybody still takes seriously the claims by the market fundamentalist crowd that North Carolina taxes and regulations are too onerous on business, another national ranking ought to straighten them out.

Forbes says North Carolina is the third best state in the country for business, trailing only Utah and Virginia. The report cited the state's low business costs and well-educated workforce.

Raleigh was named the top city in the nation for business and careers for the third year in a row. Remind us again how taxes are too high and regulations are strangling economic development.

Report from the fringe

This week's fringe report features a couple of Lockers who haven't made an appearance in a while. David Bass weighs in wondering if there is a hidden message in the vegetable garden the Obamas have planted on the grounds of the White House. Bass thinks the first family could be "setting the example for when the president's assault on the free market makes homegrown gardens our only source of food."

Somehow Bass has managed to decode the White House conspiracy to abolish the market and force people to grow their own tomatoes. You have to wonder how long the Right will continue to describe everything the Obama Administration does to restore some sanity to the economy as an "assault" on their holy free market, which only actually exists in their ideological fantasyland anyway.

Bass' colleague Donna Martinez jumps all over California for raising taxes to address the state's budget crisis. Her evidence that it's a bad idea and that California officials have been following a "boneheaded, misguided" tax policy is that for the fourth year in a row more people are leaving California than are moving in.

Putting aside the question of if it is possible to have policy that is boneheaded but not misguided, the criteria used to judge California's tax policy is interesting. North Carolina has been in the top handful of in-migration states for years.

Far more people move here every year than leave. That must mean our tax and regulatory policies are well-guided and certainly not boneheaded. Maybe Martinez simply forgot to include that point in her critique of California.

The folks at the Family Policy Council deserve a mention too for the why they are opposing legislation to crack down on bullying at school. The proposal includes a list of reasons kids are picked on or threatened at school and one of them, not surprisingly, is sexual orientation.

The venom with which some people oppose including protection for gay and lesbian students is a powerful reminder of exactly why it is needed. The Family Policy Council sees a broader aim, calling it "totally a political agenda of the homosexual activists."

That's quite a political agenda, to try to prevent gay kids from being beaten up.

The Family Policy Council was a key supporter of the rally for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage held at the General Assembly a few weeks ago, at which one speaker said that without the amendment, the door would be open to "unusual marriage…maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots."

Maybe there's room for a compromise here with the bullying bill. Let's leave the legislation the way it is, with the protection for gay and lesbian kids in it, and in exchange the bill's supporters can pledge not to push for the political agenda of robots. Deal?

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.
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