Where do we go from here?

The country has voted, and now the discussion is about the public issues to be addressed in the upcoming years. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden is asked to use his crystal ball to predict those key issues and debates.

“I think that the political debates both in Washington and in Raleigh will revolve around four big areas:  One, taxes; that is, the tax code — what should we have in terms of tax rates, complexity of rates, who pays, cut offs, debates about the impact of taxes on economic growth.  I think that’ll be a big issue in both capitals.

“Secondly, regulations. We hear this discussed in Raleigh, about do we need to revise some of our state regulations perhaps to make us more attractive to businesses.  Others say, no, those regulations are there to protect certain elements of our economy. We’re also hearing this discussed already in Washington regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act, as well as the Dodd-Frank Financial Services Act.  So I think that’ll be an issue discussion in Washington.

“Third issue, energy. We know that’s an issue here in North Carolina with those folks who want to explore more for energy resources both onshore as well as offshore. And again this was an element in the presidential election — energy at the national level.

“And then lastly, clearly spending — government spending and, in particular, how to move the country to a better fiscal health down the road. Again, this is an element of discussion in Raleigh: What should the state of North Carolina be spending money on? How fast should the budget be changing? And of course in Washington, the focus is on a spending plan that will reduce the relative size of the national debt.”

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