The Pulse

Editorial busts Berger’s mythmaking about Apple’s decision to come to NC

By: - May 4, 2021 7:13 am
Sen. Phil Berger

Be sure to check out this morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on, which delves into the real and imagined reasons that Apple Computer selected the Triangle for its big new campus.

As is explained in “Why did Apple pick N.C.? Investments, not tax cuts,” the truth isn’t what state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and his ideological allies would have us believe. After highlighting the rare show of solidarity Gov. Cooper and GOP legislative leaders displayed in and around the Apple announcement, the editorial observes:

Still amid the exhibition, Berger could not resist partisan boasting: “We’ve worked to move North Carolina from the bottom of the pack in business climate ratings to near the top.”

That is a myth, fostered by some partisan thinktanks and with little basis in reality. For a decade before 2011 when Berger started his reign as Senate President Pro Tem, the non-ideological Site Selection Magazine ranked the state’s business climate tops in the nation 9 of the 10 years. From 2011 through 2020, North Carolina ranked first only twice – though it’s been among the top 3 for all but one of those years. Since 2006 when Forbes Magazine started ranking best states to do business, North Carolina has never been lower than fifth.

So much for bottom of the pack.

Berger further sought to suggest that the General Assembly’s business tax and regulation cutting binge somehow was a lure. “We’ve spent 10 years enacting responsible budget, lowering taxes and making regulations reasonable the winning formula for job creation.”

But that’s not what experts say. When the experts who do the Site Selection Magazine rankings rate their top criteria, most important were: “1. Workforce skills 2. Workforce development. 3. Transportation infrastructure.” Taxes, incentives and legal climate are lower in their top-10 criteria.

The editorial then goes on to rightly explain the real reason Apple is coming: sustained investments in things like education, infrastructure and innovation — things that Berger and his pals have neglected and endangered over the last decade.

As the essay rightfully concludes:

North Carolina cannot afford to live off of a legacy that it does not continue to support. Failure to adequately invest jeopardizes the ability to attract new and expanding companies that spread jobs and opportunities to overlooked or missing out parts of the state.

If North Carolina aims to attract businesses that have plans for their future than the state must also demonstrate the same.

Legislative leaders need to take their finger off the PAUSE button and make the strategic investments beyond merely OK enough to get by. If North Carolina seeks to attract businesses that are focused on achieving excellence, it must also to demonstrate the same.

If there’s anything the legislature needs to pause it’s inane legislation like HB 2 and the recent nonsense directed at attacking transgender people.

Maybe Apple boss Tim Cook or one of his aides can take Berger aside and explain this at some point.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors regular commentaries, and hosts a weekly radio show/podcast.