Crossover in the state legislature was last week, and a bill sponsored by state Sen. Trudy Wade to take away a state-mandated subsidy of newspapers with paid circulation passed the Senate and will move on to the House.
The bill allows required public and legal notices to be placed on government websites instead of forcing governments and attorneys to place those ads in paid-circulation newspapers.
In Guilford County, many of those notices are now placed in the Jamestown News, a newspaper with a couple thousand paid subscribers in a county with over 500,000 residents. The odds of any resident seeing the notice in the Jamestown News are miniscule, but it meets the legal requirement because it is a paid-circulation newspaper.
Since the Rhino Times is a free newspaper, despite the fact that it has a far greater circulation, it doesn’t meet the legal requirement.
The law that would be replaced was written back when paid-circulation newspapers had a far higher percentage of subscribers and there was no television, much less internet. But it was discriminatory against other forms of advertising when it was written and is even more so now.
Imagine if instead of putting a public notice advertisement in the Jamestown News, the City of Greensboro mailed a notice to every household in Greensboro. A lot more people would see the notice, but it wouldn’t meet the legal requirement under the current law.
Wade’s bill simply recognizes what everyone knows – that information is moving online. A notice on the government website has a much greater chance of being seen by a citizen than a notice in the Jamestown News, or for that matter in the News & Record, where the daily circulation has fallen below 40,000 and the circulation isn’t restricted to Guilford County.
It’s a bill that should become law to help move North Carolina into the 21st century.
In a list released this week of the best large cities in the US to start a business, three North Carolina cities are in the top 20 – but Greensboro isn’t one of them. Charlotte is number three. Durham is six and Winston-Salem is 17.
Greensboro is number 56. Greensboro ranks 102 in business environment, 104 in access to resources and second in business costs. Durham, by comparison, is 69 in business environment, 14 in access to resources and 29 in business costs.
This should not surprise anyone who has ever tried to start or operate a small business in Greensboro. The Greensboro City Council will give millions to big business coming to or expanding in Greensboro, but all the little guy gets is regulations and unnecessary costs. No doubt if the state legislature hadn’t outlawed the business privilege license tax, Greensboro would be ranked even lower, since the tax was heavily weighted in favor of large corporations and against small businesses. The City Council still mourns the fact that it is no longer allowed to stick it to small businesses.
Since there isn’t a single small business owner currently on the City Council, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson and Mike Barber work for nonprofits. Councilmember Jamal Fox is a teacher for Guilford County Schools. Councilmember Justin Outling is an attorney with Brooks Pierce. Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter, Sharon Hightower, Tony Wilkins and Nancy Hoffmann have no full-time employment.
Greens-High Boro-Point is the way the new logo for Guilford County Economic Development Alliance reads – in the traditional way that most people in this country read from left to right. I’m told by County Editor Scott Yost that is not the proper way to read the logo, but I’ve been reading from left to right for so long, it’s hard to stop. In fact, did anyone read this “Greens-High way Economic reads – people right”?
One of the arguments for solar energy is that is raises the land values and provides local governments with more revenue. But this is not actually true because renewable energy receives an 80 percent break on property tax. So a $1 million solar array only pays property tax on $200,000. Along with subsidies, tax credits and laws that require the utility to buy the renewable electricity at a higher price than what it costs the utility to produce electricity, renewable energy should be called government energy because without the support of the government it wouldn’t exist.