The Competitiveness Commission
With the 21st century looming, Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr.,
created the Commission for a Competitive North Carolina
in 1994 to help the state undertake a serious self-examination.
He challenged the commission — a bipartisan group
of 70 business, education, nonprofit, and elected leaders
— to map a long-term vision for the state's future
and to chart a course for translating the vision into
The following year the commission released Measuring
Up to the Challenge: A Prosperous North Carolina in
a Competitive World. The report outlined a vision
for the state and identified eight critical area for
public attention, all based on extensive research and
consensus building. But the commission also concluded
that continuing progress could not be assured by a one-time
effort. It recommended that the North Carolina General
Assembly establish a permanent Progress Board to serve
as an ongoing mechanism to continue and guide the process.
Vision for North Carolinain
the 21st Century
From Measuring Up to the
North Carolina will be a desirable place to live a productive,
rewarding, and satisfying life. Its people will have
a shared sense of place, stewardship, and values. North
Carolinians will enjoy:
A high quality of life, with stable families and healthy
children, safe and vibrant communities, outstanding
educational and cultural opportunities, options for
enrichment of the human spirit, a beautiful and sustainable
natural environment, and a feeling of optimism and control
over their individual and collective futures.
A growing competitive and advanced economy, with globally
competitive enterprises; an educated, skilled, and highly
productive workforce with a commitment to lifelong learning;
fulfilling work; widely shared prosperity, wisely used
environmental resources; and an infrastructure for global
movement of products, services, people, and ideas.
A strong sense of community, with a commitment to shared
values and vision, civic responsibility, fair treatment
for all, a respect for individual differences, a receptivity
to change, and a fully engaged citizenry.
An efficient and accountable government that facilitates
productive use of the collective energy and resources
of the people, communities, businesses, and institutions
of our state.
The legislature adopted the commission's recommendation
and established the North Carolina Progress Board as
a permanent entity of state government in 1995. Its
24 members are appointed by
the governor, the leadership of the N.C. House and Senate,
and the board itself. The governor serves as the chair.
Initially housed in the Department of Administration,
it now is attached for administrative purposes to the
University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
creating the Progress Board outlined eight broad areas
for the board's attention:
• A Prosperous Economy
• Quality Education for All
• A Sustainable Environment
• Healthy Children and Families
• Safe and Vibrant Communities
• A High-Performance Workforce
• 21st-Century Infrastructure
• Accountable Government and Active Citizenry
Over the next six years, the Progress Board worked with
citizens, public officials, scholars, and many others
to elaborate on the vision originally drafted by the
Commission for a Competitive North Carolina. The results,
documented in periodic reports, culminated in North
Carolina 20/20 — a comprehensive report
describing the considerable challenges facing the state
and presenting goals, measures, and targets for improvement
in all eight issue areas. We came to call the issue
areas imperatives, in recognition of the critical importance
of each one to North Carolina's continued prosperity.
Throughout this process and continuing after the release
of North Carolina 20/20, the board sought to
involve citizens statewide in debating the state's priorities
and strategies for the future. We held focus groups
on specific issues and community assemblies that engaged
citizens on all eight imperatives. We met with community
groups, to tell them about our work and hear their response.
We spoke with legislative groups, municipal and county
leaders, and advocacy organizations. We also cooperated
with the UNC Center for Public Television in the production
of a two-hour special
based on the North Carolina 20/20 report.
Our work showed us the deep commitment North Carolinians
have for our state and the deep perplexity many feel
when confronted with questions about the state budget.
In answer, the Progress Board in 2003 released Our
State, Our Money — A Citizens' Guide to the North
Carolina Budget. In plain English, the guide explains
how decisions are made on revenues and expenditures,
sources of money and where it goes, and how individual
citizens can affect the process.
With the creation of this new website, the board takes
another step toward engaging citizens in public discussion
and providing citizens and leaders alike with informative
and useful tools for decision-making.