For the week of
August 05, 2005
Reaction of the Week
Market forces may be moving textile and furniture employment overseas, but according to a new report from the John Locke Foundation there’s no mistaking a major growth industry in North Carolina: state and local government.
Joe Coletti, a fiscal policy analyst for the Raleigh-based think tank, examined recent growth in government employment in a Spotlight briefing paper
released this week. He analyzed employment figures for North Carolina
state and local governments and found significant growth – nearly
50,000 new jobs since 2000.
“That 8.2 percent growth in state and local government is faster than the overall growth in population,” Coletti said. “Only 15 states in the country posted a faster rate of growth in government jobs than North Carolina did.”
Coletti also computed North Carolina’s ratio of government workers to population and compared it to that of other Southeastern states,
finding that only South Carolina’s ratio was higher. He also contrasted
it to the ratios of states with comparable populations.
“No other state with a similar population has more public employees per
resident than North Carolina does – not even Massachusetts,” Coletti
State legislature approves budget extension
RALEIGH — State lawmakers passed the third budget extension of the
year Thursday, signaling another week of closed-door talks between
House and Senate leaders. Four issues are delaying an agreement,
negotiators say. They are: The amount of the increase to the cigarette
tax. Whether the state's two largest universities - the University of
North Carolina and N.C. State - should set their own tuition rates. How
much to raise salaries for state employees. Whether to establish a
Bush presses for China trade deal
WASHINGTON — President Bush signed CAFTA into law Tuesday as his
administration announced plans to seek a broad agreement with China on
textile and apparel imports -- a move Rep. Robin Hayes pushed for as
payback for his controversial vote last week to save CAFTA from defeat.
The Commerce Department's decision to consult with the textile industry
and Congress about a comprehensive deal with China is "a heck of a step
in the right direction," Hayes said in a statement.
Bridge bill might have backfired
NORFOLK, Va — Language in a newly passed bill that directs the state
to hire a private contractor to build a new bridge over Oregon Inlet
would disqualify the project for tens of millions of dollars in federal
funds. The legislation, approved by the state House of Representatives
on Tuesday, authorizes construction of roads that would be financed
with bonds repaid with collected tolls.
Wage hike tied to business tax credits
RALEIGH — If the National Federation of Independent Business has to
accept a minimum wage increase along with a tax credit for small
business, it won't take the credit. A proposal to increase the minimum
wage, having failed in House floor and committee votes in June, is back
this week. It is now attached to a measure that offers certain small
businesses a $400 tax credit for each employee for whom the companies
provide health coverage.
NC doctor scraps insurance, charges less
APEX — Dr. Brian Forrest thought he'd probably take a pay cut when
he opened a family practice in 2002 with plans to quit accepting health
insurance, charge half what most doctors do and increase the length of
patient visits. Instead, the practice is thriving on $45 office visits
and Forrest, 33, earns more than he did while working in urgent-care
centers. The trick? The practice, Access Healthcare, sees fewer
patients and charges less but collects 100 percent of fees, which are
posted in the lobby for all to see, from patients at the time of
No-work employee raises eyebrows
RALEIGH — A newspaper report about a state employee who said last
week that she did little work over the past two years prompted renewed
calls Monday for a thorough examination of state programs for waste and
for an improved system of evaluating employees. Sen. Robert Pittenger,
a Charlotte Republican, said independent performance audits of state
government would ferret out unnecessary jobs and improve efficiency.
Dogfighting law burdens animal shelters
RANDLEMAN — When the 18 fighting pit bulls arrived, the Dalmatian
with fleas had to go. The black Labrador with a case of mange will
probably be next. The Randolph County Animal Shelter is only so big.
And the pit bulls are evidence in a dogfighting case. Animal Control
Supervisor Robyn Allison has no choice but to keep them until the case
is resolved. That leaves her with one option: start euthanizing
Later start interferes with tax-free weekend
WINSTON-SALEM — Parents of school-age children will be crowding into
stores for the next few days to buy school supplies during the
tax-exempt weekend. The problem is, many parents don't know what to
buy. "It's going to be awkward this year," said George Fleetwood, the
assistant superintendent for instruction for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth
County school system. The General Assembly, which created the weekend,
also passed a law in 2004 that required school systems to start school
no earlier than Aug. 25.
Score tweaking raises test questions
RALEIGH — For the third time in four years, North Carolina has
scrapped or recalculated results of its renowned school-testing system,
prompting questions about the tests' reliability -- and orders from
Gov. Mike Easley for an outside audit. Easley "was as frustrated as any
parent might have been to see another issue with the ABCs," said J.B.
Buxton, the governor's education adviser. This year's problem: the
state decided too few schools made enough progress in sixth-grade
Easley resists art museum bonds
RALEIGH — Bold plans for the N.C. Museum of Art encountered the
North Carolina art of politics Thursday. The result: hope, frustration
and the need for an art of another sort, the one of compromise. The
House Finance Committee raised hopes for a glittering new museum by
approving $50 million in bonds Thursday. Gov. Mike Easley quickly
responded that he doesn't think the debt-loaded state should borrow
more to finance the museum.
Monday, August 08, 2005 at 12 Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Dr. Hugh W. Stephens
"Terrorism and Port Security"
Monday, August 15, 2005 at 12 Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Bernie Reeves
"Hollywood Communists, Radical Scholars, Chinese Espionage Among Subjects for Third Raleigh Spy Conference"
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 at Noon
A Headliner Luncheon
with our special guest Dr. Larry Schweikart
"A Patriot's History of the United States:
From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror"
“We have produced some gains there in the course of the day and (Monday) night, but it is difficult to plow in… It’s sort of stumpy and rooty as we go down the field.”
— Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, D-Dare, using farming terminology in describing to the Senate how budget negotiations with House were progressing.
“You have to be sort of realistic. If you are going to have a lottery, you have a lottery. And if you are going to raise revenues for good and noble causes, then you go out and raise the revenues.”
— Rep. Bill Culpepper, D-Chowan, arguing to The News & Observer
of Raleigh against the limits on advertising in the House’s version of
a lottery bill. The Senate’s version has no such limits; the two houses
are attempting to negotiate an agreement.
“There are better places in this country to die than in North Carolina.”
— Carole Bruce, tax and estate planning lawyer, talking to the Business Journal
serving the Greater Triad Area about the state’s inheritance tax. North
Carolina is one of 18 states that still has a death tax.
On The Air This Week…
This week on C J Radio…
We take a special look at the educational choice movement across the nation and state with Robert Enlow from the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and Lindalyn Kakadelis with the NC Education Alliance. Then, Mark Bridgeman with the NC Association on Gang Investigations will discuss the growing gang presence in North Carolina. And last, CJ associate editor Donna Martinez hosts another edition of Locker Room Talk, a discussion of this week's best blogs from the John Locke Foundation weblog, The Locker Room, with CJ's Chad Adams and Summer Hood.
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. On the docket this week: the state
highway patrol begins targeting dangerous drivers, contentious city
curfews, and the personal income tax hike extension. This week's
panelists include: former legislator Gene Arnold; Robin Dorff, Executive Director of Institute of Political Leadership; Chris Fitzsimon with NC Policy Watch; John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation.
This week on At Issue…
Triangle viewers can tune in to host Monty Knight as he is joined by Carolina Journal's Donna Martinez and The Carolinian's Cash Michaels
for another round of At Issue. This week, panelists discuss the New
Hill water management controversy and a Chapel Hill parent takes issue
with 'Pop the cap' legislation.