Our state is getting wealthier as a whole, but the average family can’t get ahead. That’s the ugly paradox at the heart of North Carolina’s post-recession economy, in which average family incomes continue to stagnate even as we see a slow, uneven return to growth.

A healthy economy has to work for all North Carolinians, not just the select few. We can support a healthy economy through pro-growth ideas to attract new jobs and new investments in North Carolina, but we must give a fair shake to all who currently live and work here. A fair shake means a tax policy that respects working families, rather than just rewarding the wealthy. It means labor laws that promote fair competition and protect the rights that every worker has earned. And it means medical and sick leave so that hardworking men and women don’t have to choose between raising a family and earning a living.

A competitive, dynamic economy demands new thinking from our lawmakers. We can make it easier for promising ideas to grow into booming businesses, create more opportunities for on-the-job training and education, and offer all North Carolinians a simple, state-backed option for building a secure retirement. We can make our economy work for those who clock in, not just those who cash out.