How to Build an Economy that Works for All

Our new series How to Build an Economy that Works for All aims to establish policy priorities and proposals that policymakers can advance and North Carolinians can support throughout the election season and the start of the legislative session in January.

The policy series will run through at least Election Day in November, covering issues such as teacher pay, Medicaid expansion, the state Earned Income Tax Credit, and more. For more information, check out the Your Voice, Your Vote fact sheets and issue guides at


Raise the State Minimum Wage. North Carolina needs an economy that works for all and ensures broadly shared prosperity. That means creating jobs that pay workers enough to afford the basics for themselves and their families. Raising the state minimum wage could benefit businesses, help workers, and build an economy that works for all North Carolinians. It provides a critical antidote to the ongoing boom in low-wage work, a trend that has only accelerated since the end of the Great Recession.

Attract—and Keep—High-Quality Teachers in the Classroom with Competitive Pay. Teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance. Unfortunately, North Carolina has failed to ensure that teachers receive adequate pay and support. Competitive teacher pay is a necessary first step towards boosting student achievement, increasing lifelong earnings, and delivering widespread economic growth to North Carolinians.

Support Jobless Workers' Connection to Work and Careers. While North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped in recent years, there are still fewer employed people as a share of the population than before the recession started. The lack of good, quality jobs for our growing workforce is a serious and pervasive problem. In order to help boost our economy, policymakers must prop up jobless workers as they look for jobs, including providing support so that workers stay connected to the labor market.

Bring Back the State EITC. North Carolina once had a policy in place with the goal of creating an economy that works for all and ensures every family can make ends meet — the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a tax credit for working families that reduces poverty and rewards work for low- and moderate-income households. Until recently, these households could claim the state EITC as a way to cover the basics but state lawmakers eliminated the state credit in 2013.

Close the Gap. North Carolina lawmakers have failed to fully implement the Affordable Care Act so that up to 500,000 parents, young adults, workers, and veterans could experience the health, financial, and social benefits due to comprehensive health care coverage. While North Carolina has experienced a 28 percent decrease in the uninsured rate since the first open enrollment in 2013, the failure to expand Medicaid in our state means the Tar Heel state lags behind when it comes to making greater strides to reduce the overall uninsured rate.

Make Sure North Carolinians Have Access to Food. When North Carolinians are able to purchase and eat healthy and nutritious food, they fuel active and healthy lifestyles, stay engaged at work and school, and boost the economy through their grocery shopping. Every night, almost 630,000 North Carolina households don’t have enough to eat. North Carolina has the 8th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation. Homes that have low food security often must make tough choices about the amount and quality of food they are able to provide their families.