- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Opinion Editorial

RALEIGH -- This week, state legislators will begin looking anew at an old problem -- debt taken on by 51 North Carolina communities back in the 1970s in order to provide electricity to their residents.

The debt, taken on as the municipalities decided to buy into new power plants, rose because of cost overruns at the plants. Declining inflation also meant that electricity rates in other communities didn't rise as much as predicted.

The result is that electricity rates in those 51 communities are much higher than the rest of state. In some cases, rates are as much as 50 percent higher.

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In 1938, with the U.S. still doggedly fighting to escape the Great Depression, FDR's administration declared the Southern region to be "America's Economic Problem Number 1." Although the country as a whole was struggling, the pain was most acutely felt in the South, which lagged by almost every economic measure: jobs, wage levels, family income and more.

Many of the reasons Roosevelt's experts gave for the South's dismal situation were specific to the era, like being "crushed" in the Civil War, the "vicious period" of Reconstruction and tariffs on cotton and tobacco. The way railroads were set up and subsidized in the late 1800s was still conferring a big advantage to Northern businesses.

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Some “readings” of woolly worms indicate that we are in for a long cold winter. If the proposed Duke Energy rate increases go into effect, it will be a more expensive one as well.

Duke Energy Carolinas was awarded an increase in 2009 that amounted to residential rates going up 8 percent. This time they are doubling down and asking for a 17 percent hike that, if approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC), would be implemented in February 2012.

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House Speaker Thom Tillis has a way of shooting from the hip.

It's a trait that endears him to some and occasionally enrages others. It also causes him to spend a lot of time clarifying words that he previously spoke.

The Mecklenburg County Republican's most recent foray into a political minefield occurred while answering questions at a town hall meeting at Mars Hill College.

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published: 10/18/2013
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