For the week of
Reaction of the Week
Gov. Mike Easley’s
administration and legislative leaders may have violated a state law in
the distribution of discretionary funds to projects of nonprofits and local
governments that had been considered but turned down by the General Assembly.
Statute 143-16.3 says that the state government may spend "no
any source…for any new or expanded purposes, positions, or
which the legislature has already considered but failed to
in the same fiscal period.
Because nine projects were considered earlier
in the budget process but
rejected as lawmakers approved the final budget,
their funding under
the discretionary process may have been illegal.
former state Republican House Appropriations Co-Chair Debbie
Cherryville says that discretionary funds controlled by
leaders constituted a justified reward for their districts, because of
the extra hours they put in to pass the budget.
Clary supported the
2003 power-sharing coalition of Democrat House Co-Speakers Jim Black and
Republican Richard Morgan, said entrusting the funding of members' special
district projects to General Assembly leaders was the only way to get them
passed in the budget.
Easley halts donation of building
— Gov. Mike Easley squelched a legislative deal
Thursday to give
the James K. Polk building in uptown Charlotte to
Johnson & Wales
University and instead arranged to sell the
building to a Charlotte firm
for $5.3 million. It was also disclosed
Thursday that Easley moved up
the deadline for bidding on the building
in order to block the Johnson
& Wales deal. That move, however,
apparently left the state losing
out on a bid nearly $2 million higher.
Lobbyists' parties prompt disclosure
RALEIGH — Zeb Alley, one of the most prominent lobbyists in
state capital, won the battle of the St. Patrick's Day power broker
Alley tuneful shindig drew a much bigger and higher-ranking
crowd of lawmakers
than a downtown reception at the same time sponsored
by the state's largest
business lobby, N.C. Citizens for Business and
Industry, whose dessert
trays were packed with baklava and cannoli.
Both parties, though, exemplified
the socializing among lobbyists and
legislators that feeds a public perception
of a culture of sucking up and shaking down.
Piedmont customers may cover
CHARLOTTE — Taxpayers financed construction of a $188 million
pipeline in eastern NC.
Now Piedmont Natural Gas customers may wind up
covering the project’s
multimillion-dollar annual losses. Piedmont
wants to buy out its
nonprofit, 50% partner in the pipeline, called Eastern
Natural Gas. This month, the utility is expected to ask
include the money-losing project in its overall operations
Piedmont asks for a rate increase.
Payday loan 'loophole' criticized
— A study by the Center for Responsible Lending, to be released today,
says North Carolina's payday lending businesses
The state law regulating payday lending
expired in 2001, and state officials
told companies to stop making the
loans. But companies affiliated with
out-of-state banks still offer
them, saying those banks are the actual
lenders. Consumer groups have
lawsuits pending against five payday loan
companies that use
partnerships with out-of-state banks.
air quality showing improvement
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The air is a little
cleaner and the view a little
brighter in the Great Smoky Mountains, but
it’s still considered the
most polluted national park in the country.
Scientists monitoring the
volume of manmade smog and soot in the Smokies
— not to be confused
with the natural mist-like clouds for which
the park was named — are
cautiously optimistic a turnaround is under
Easley comments on Dell contract dispute
GREENSBORO — Gov.
Mike Easley said that he would have preferred Dell
pick a NC-based contractor
for its plant in the Triad, though he
understands why the computer giant
went with the low bidder. Easley
made a visit to the Triad Monday that
included an announcement at Volvo
Group about an expansion by the truck
manufacturing company. Volvo will
expand its headquarters, adding 150
jobs during the next three years
and investing $10 million.
state address ID security breaches
WASHINGTON — Banks and other businesses
can decide when to tell
customers about information security breaches
under federal regulations
and N.C. legislation announced Wednesday. But
N.C. consumers could get
some additional protection under a sweeping ID
that would allow them to put virtual padlocks on
their credit reports.
No federal law and just one state - California -
require businesses to
tell customers about security breaches.
unemployment rises to 5.4 percent
RALEIGH — Led by a drop in construction
jobs, the state's
unemployment rate in February rose four-tenths of a
percentage point to
5.4 percent. The shift pushed the state's jobless
picture in line with
the national average - also 5.4 percent. The state
unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal factors. "There
positive spin on it," said Mark Vitner, an economist for Wachovia
Charlotte. The increase in the jobless rate was the biggest since May
when the rate jumped five-tenths of a percent compared to the
continues after county moratorium
CONCORD — The moratorium on new
in Cabarrus County has not slowed the pace of
growth, according to
county data. The president of a local building-industry
group said he
believes any slowdown in construction will not become apparent
later this year. Any projects that filed applications before the
was adopted Dec. 20 are permitted to proceed, and there was
a jump in
such applications just before the deadline.
Magnet Schools Attract
GREENSBORO — Winter in the Piedmont region of North Carolina
challenges for school transportation officials, especially in
County. The county is on the dividing line of many weather
it’s hard to predict whether it will snow, sleet, or rain.
to decide whether the roads are safe to transport students to
a difficult call. But this year, there have been many more
decisions for Guilford County Schools. GCS has
26 magnet schools and is
feeling the pinch as it deals with
disproportionate increases in transportation
costs for magnet
Tuesday, March 29,
2005 at Noon
with Dick Morris
Will Hillary Run?
at the Coming Elections
Monday, April 04, 2005 at 12:00 noon
with Dr. John E. R. Staddon
God and Darwin in the U.S.A.
“Please do not make children feel like I did.”
Guilford County third-grader Jimmy Carson as quoted by the Greensboro News
explaining to the county education board his frustration
and boredom in
classes that are not academically challenging enough for
the gifted student. The board
disagreed with Carson and voted to delay
offering gifted classes until
the fourth grade.
to the floor because there's going to be a select committee on the lottery
- and I'll be selecting.”
— NC House Speaker Jim Black as quoted
by the Winston-Salem Journal explaining his support for a House vote on
a state-run lottery within the next two weeks.
your daughter is part of a new busing plan, and you go and ask for a copy
of the plan. They say, You can't have it and we're going to sue you for
— Raleigh media attorney Amanda Martin as quoted by
Associated Press describing a push by NC cities and other government
to sue citizens who seek public records.
the price for living where most of the country wants to live.”
Wrightsville Beach resident Mary Dowcett as quoted by the Wilmington Star-News
describing a 10 percent increase she and other coastal residents are expecting
in homeowners insurance.
— Selma store
manager Judy Wilhelm as quoted by The Charlotte Observer
often customers take advantage of a state law that
allows the purchase
of up to 299 cartons of cigarettes at a time.
Smokers from up and down
the East coast stop in North Carolina to take
advantage of the state's
comparatively low tax on smokes.
“Things like being on
a bus or a train is part of an experience for them that they get excited
about, especially for smaller children. It can be an extension of the excitement
of the game.”
— John Tallmadge, director of commuter resources
for the Triangle Transit Authority, as quoted by the Durham Herald-Sun
explaining his support for extending transit service to the Durham Bulls
“The trouble is, everyone thinks their project
is the best in the state. We sprinkle (money) out region by region, not
by choosing the best projects in the state.”
— Dave Hartgen,
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
transportation professor and
author of a study on highway spending
efficiency, as quoted by The Charlotte
explaining that one of the reasons he ranked North Carolina 36th
study is the state's spending formula, which spreads funding
throughout the state instead of concentrating it in the
most needed areas.
exceeded our (2004) mission, and we are already on glide path for this
— Sgt. Maj. Marissa Capel as quoted by The Fayetteville
how the 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne
Division, both based
in Fort Bragg, are exceeding their re-enlistment
On The Air This Week…
This week on C J Radio…
host John Hood for the most informative news hour on the North Carolina
radio waves. This week Pope Center for Higher Education Policy Director
George Leef will discuss how property rights disputes were handled in the
not-so-Wild, Wild West. Then, Susan Dudley, director of the Regulatory
Studies Program at the Mercatus Center will discuss her talk given to the
Shaftesbury Society entitled "The Regulatory Leviathan." Next, Free Market
Minute author Karen Palasek
will discuss the economic theories on self-sufficient
markets and ask
listeners 'Orange you glad some of us don't grow potatoes?'
And last, NC Education Alliance Director Lindalyn Kakadelis
about the state cap on the non-traditional public schools
schools. Parents and students are clamoring for more, so
will the State
Board of Education lift the cap?
This week on NC Spin…
moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political
discussion and debate
on the most intelligent television talk show in
the state. This week’s
panelists include: former Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten, Brad Crone
with Campaign Connections, Chris Fitzsimon with NC Policy Watch and John
Locke Foundation president John Hood.
This week's topics are: Slush funds
with legs, Giving school boards
taxing authority, Beach re-nourishment
& Medical Malpractice.
This week on At Issue…
viewers can tune in as host Monty Knight moderates another panel discussion
with Carolina Journal's Donna Martinez and the Carolinian's Cash Michaels.
This week, panelists discuss the Terri Schaivo case with Dr. Glenn Pickard,
a member of the bioethics committee of the NC Medical Society and a faculty
member at UNC-Chapel Hill's medical school, and Christopher Schroeder,
law professor at Duke University. Then they will take up the debate over
hate crime law with Jon Sanders of the Pope Center for Higher Education
Policy and Ed Farthing with Equality North Carolina.