• Research Report

    High Tide for Hype on the OBX: Apocalyptic predictions miss the mark on North Carolina sea levels

    posted September 25, 2012 by Patrick Michaels
    The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission’s (CRC) forecast of sea level rise from climate change is far greater than the consensus estimate of the United Nations, and Atlantic hurricane activity exhibits no systematic changes in the last hundred years. It is therefore unlikely that catastrophic climate change outcomes await residents of the Outer Banks over the next hundred years.
  • Research Report

    Flex Growth: A smarter option for North Carolina communities

    posted September 11, 2012 by Michael Lowrey
    In recent years, an increasing number of local governments across the nation and across North Carolina have adopted “Smart Growth” policies. However, North Carolina should look to the future and adopt a flexible growth agenda — Flex Growth. Flex Growth is a market-based system of principles for government land use and development policy, especially at the state and local government levels, based upon the idea that people — and not government bureaucrats and planners — know what is best for themselves.
  • Research Report

    N.C.’s Film Tax Incentives: Good Old-Fashioned Corporate Welfare

    posted July 17, 2012 by Jon Sanders
    Once a popular off-Hollywood venue for filmmakers before state film tax incentives, North Carolina is now one of the leaders in a race to the bottom among other states and nations in giveaways to movie production companies. The incentives show that state leaders know that lower taxes and regulations attract industry. So why play favorites with industries? Why not just lower taxes and regulations altogether?
  • Research Report

    Carolina Cronyism: Introduction, Overview, and Reforms

    posted July 17, 2012 by Jon Sanders
    Cronyism is an umbrella term covering a host of government activities by which an industry or even a single firm or speculator is given favors and support that they could not attain in market competition. This report explains what opens government to cronyism, gives a brief rundown of recent examples of cronyism in North Carolina, and offers several possible reforms.
  • Research Report

    Educational Market Share: Despite the growth of school choice, public schools dominate

    posted July 9, 2012 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    Private, charter, and home schools continue to be popular in many states, including North Carolina. This popularity, however, has not produced a significant enrollment shift from district schools to schools of choice – private, charter, or home schools. North Carolina and nine other states had a net increase in the percentage of students attending a school of choice between 2001 and 2010, but statewide market share increases were trivial. School choice reformers must continue their praiseworthy efforts to expand educational options for families. They must also recognize that the traditional public school system will remain the primary provider of schooling for most families.
  • Research Report

    One Way Street for Spending Adjustments: Reverse Logrolling Offers an Alternative

    posted June 27, 2012 by Fergus Hodgson
    The General Fund portion of North Carolina’s $51.7 billion state budget for 2013 is now $20.18 billion, which exceeds planned spending as passed in 2011. All of this year’s General Fund proposals from the House, Senate, and governor have been for more spending than planned. By taking the lower cost of each General Fund component from the House and Senate proposals — “reverse logrolling” — with a couple of exceptions, one could achieve a General Fund total of $19.85 billion. That would save $330 million from the enacted General Fund and $87 million from last year’s plan.
  • Research Report

    Improving Juvenile Justice: Finding More Effective Options for North Carolina’s Young Offenders

    posted May 16, 2012 by Marc Levin, Jeanette Moll
    North Carolina is one of only two states which automatically send all 16 and 17 year-olds to the adult justice system. Adult court jurisdiction of juveniles does not deter juvenile crime and results in poor rehabilitation of juveniles. Minors in criminal justice systems have less access to education and other age-specific programming than those in the juvenile justice system, putting them at a serious disadvantage upon release. Methods to improve the juvenile justice system in North Carolina include both adjusting the age of juvenile court jurisdiction and creating a system of blended sentencing.
  • Research Report

    Review of the Triangle Transit Authority’s Response to Questions Regarding Costs and Ridership

    posted May 8, 2012 by Thomas A. Rubin, Dr. David Hartgen
    Based on our review of the TTA Response, we continue to have major reservations concerning the feasibility of the Wake County Transit Plan. The TTA Response does not adequately respond to our questions concerning ridership or costs. It does not deal with the inconsistencies in ridership estimated implied in the Plan versus those in the earlier documents and, in fact, introduces new ones. The ridership estimates provided in the TTA Response are several times higher than those implied in the Plan, and the costs per rider are much lower than those implied in the Plan. Further, the Response does not respond to our concerns expressed in the John Locke Foundation’s earlier Review regarding other serious issues. Therefore the TTA Response is deemed inadequate, and our fundamental concerns regarding the costs and benefits of this Plan remain unaddressed.
  • Research Report

    2012 State Spending at a Record High: Albeit Concealed, State Spending Has Grown For Decades

    posted May 7, 2012 by Fergus Hodgson
    Total state spending per capita is at its highest level ever in the 2012 fiscal year and has more than tripled since 1970. Over the past four decades, state spending has grown much faster than personal income, and in real, per capita terms, spending on all reported categories has more than doubled since the mid-1970s. That includes education, corrections, health and human services, transportation, and debt servicing. General fund spending per capita has declined by 16 percent since 2009, but per capita spending outside of the general fund increased by 26 percent and more than compensated for the general fund’s decline. Federal aid continues to comprise an ever-larger portion of the state budget, and North Carolina’s cash-basis accounting conceals spending and is generating unfunded liabilities

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