Carolina Journal Weekly Report

June 17, 2005

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of June 17, 2005 -

Reaction of the Week

A coalition of public-policy groups interested in limited government, efficient use of tax dollars and legislative accountability will hold a “Take Back Our State” rally in Raleigh on June 22, organizers have announced.

The rally, to be held Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the Bicentennial Mall between the state capitol and the legislative building, will include speakers from eight different organizations and will feature bluegrass music and free barbecue. Kevin Miller, morning show host on WPTF in the Triangle, will emcee the event.

“Our goal is to deliver a unified, serious message: that decisions made by elected officials over the past several years have not served North Carolinians well, and the cumulative effect has pushed the state down a path many residents oppose,” said Chris Neeley, state director of Americans for Prosperity North Carolina, a coalition member.

The event will take place as state legislators negotiate the state budget and how to address a projected gap of approximately $1.3 billion between anticipated revenue and expenses. Last week the House passed a revenue bill that would extend what was billed in 2001 as “temporary” sales and income tax increases, as well as impose new or additional taxes on candy, satellite TV, phone service and liquor.

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News Features

Lawsuit risk changes Dell incentives
WINSTON-SALEM — The latest draft of a contract between Dell Inc., the city, county and other agencies has been changed, partly in anticipation of a lawsuit being filed against the incentives package for the manufacturer. Robert Orr, a former justice on the N.C. Supreme Court and now the head of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, has said that he plans to challenge the agreement that would help Dell build a 500,000-square-foot computer assembly plant.

Bush Official: CAFTA would help NC
GREENSBORO — A free trade agreement with Central America will mean more business for North Carolina, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told business leaders Friday. North Carolina ranks third among the states in exports to Central America behind Texas and Florida with $1.7 billion in shipped goods, Gutierrez said. Over the past four years, North Carolina has led the nation in export growth to CAFTA nations with a 65 percent increase, he said.

Furniture woes not whole economic story
HICKORY — While there are signs of an improving economy in the Hickory region, the furniture industry lags well behind, as shown by massive layoff announcements from Broyhill Furniture Industries and Thomasville Furniture. Other areas of the regional economy are seeing a resurgence. Unemployment is hovering around 6 percent after reaching as much as 9 percent two years ago. Several companies also announced expansions in recent months.

Lobbyists reports may not be on file
RALEIGH — About 200 companies, associations and other groups that hire lobbyists for the General Assembly may have failed to file reports required by state law in recent years, according to a report released yesterday. Researchers with Democracy North Carolina examined records for the 2003-04 legislative sessions, when 717 groups had registered lobbyists.

NE Partnership's role questioned
EDENTON — The structure of a Beaufort County economic development deal with Agri-Ethanol Products of Raleigh may have been affected by advice given to the company by the Northeast Partnership, a regional development group based in Edenton, a Beaufort County commissioner indicated. Jay McRoy, the commissioners' vice chairman, made it clear the county is not accustomed to getting involved in land-acquisition arrangements with companies.

State reports on failed job-creating venture
GREENVILLE — The state's Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has released a final report Privaris, a fingerprint-technology venture that could have brought sustainable jobs to Martin County. In the report, the commission, or TTFC, declares the project helped North Carolina meet federal security goals, even though jobs called for in a contract with the commission were not created and the technology has not been utilized by the state.

House passes $17.1 billion budget
RALEIGH — Cigarettes, movies and car registrations would all cost more in the $17.1 billion budget that the N.C. House began debating last night. But the House's proposed budget for 2005-06 - which won approval by a vote of 62-58 at 12:21 a.m. today - avoids many of the Senate's cuts in education and Medicaid health insurance for the poor. "Nobody got everything they wanted this year," said House Majority Leader Joe Hackney.

Decker's job excluded from budget
RALEIGH — Former Rep. Michael Decker's good fortune at landing a state job may be coming to an end. Decker's position as a community development specialist in his home county, Forsyth, runs out of money June 30. His guardian angel, House Speaker Jim Black, is emphatic that he will not use the next state budget to help Decker keep his job.

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 20, 2005 at 12 Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Kevin Miller
Iraq Trip

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 at 12 Noon
Headliner Luncheon
with our special guest Christopher Hitchens
Thomas Jefferson: Author of America

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

It's just plain ol' majority rule.
— State House Majority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange, as quoted by The Charlotte Observer on a House committee’s approval of a $.25 a pack increase in the state cigarette tax. To ensure passage, six Democrats were added to the committee the day before the vote.

All the other states have it figured out, so why haven't we?
— Lenoir County Commissioner Jackie Brown wondering to the Kinston Free Press why North Carolina is the last state to require counties to pick up part of the cost of Medicaid. Despite a resolution adopted by all 100 counties, a proposed hike in the state’s cigarette tax would go to the state's general fund, not to relieve counties of their Medicaid burden.

We have to sell our story to our inland legislators. We have to educate them about why this is important not just to eastern North Carolina but to all of North Carolina.
— State Rep. Carolyn Justice, R-Pender, explaining the challenge of attempting to get the state to fund dredging in coastal waters to the Wilmington Star-News. Dredging has traditionally been a federal responsibility but no funds are budgeted for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
This week, Chris Neeley with Americans for Prosperity will discuss the upcoming Take Back Our State rally. Then, NC State University physics professor Dr. John Hubisz will discuss some of Albert Einstein's most innovative discoveries on their 100 year anniversary. Carolina Journal associate editors Chad Adams and Summer Hood join Donna Martinez for another edition of Locker Room Talk, a sometimes whacky but always entertaining look at this week's best blogs from the John Locke Foundation weblog, The Locker Room. And last, Free Market Minute author Karen Palasek discusses her article "Health Before Liberty", detailing the legislative debate for more regulation on the state's smokers.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week include: more details on the recently passed state House budget, lobbying disclosure reports filled with holes and bumps removed on the road to toll roads. Panelists this week include: Rob Schofield from the NC Justice Center, John Locke Foundation president John Hood, political analyst Theresa Kostrzewa and Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch.

At Issue

This week on At Issue…
Triangle 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, Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova discusses his book Fidel: Hollywoods Favorite Tyrant. Then, Lt. Everett Clendenin will discuss the state report released this week on safety and speeding.


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