Carolina Journal Weekly Report

January 09, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of January 09, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — In an economy that depends more on consumerism than on production, the credit crisis means debt-burdened Americans are finding it harder to extract cash out of their homes or credit cards to finance their spending, writes Karen McMahan for Carolina Journal.

The services sector accounts not only for the largest share of Gross Domestic Product but also nonfarm employment in the United States — nearly 80 percent — according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Retail, one component of the services sector, is the second largest industry in the United States in both number of businesses and employees, generating annually about $11,690 per capita. Small businesses, or single-store retailers, comprise 95 percent of all U.S. retailers.

In North Carolina, retail is a $90 billion industry and is the second largest employer with more than 650,000 jobs, according to the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. In 2007, retailers paid more than $5.5 billion in sales and use tax, the second largest and fastest-growing revenue source in the state.

Sharp declines in consumer spending have sparked a rise in retail bankruptcies and store closings and a decline in retail employment. Even though Black Friday sales were stronger than last year’s sales, same-store sales in November fell by 2.7 percent from last year, the largest drop in 39 years, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

News Features

CJ: Streamlined Sales Tax continues to float
CHARLOTTE — Thanks to the shaky economy and the fact that many states face budget shortfalls this year, some experts think the streamlined sales tax movement may gain some ground in 2009. The issue, a perennial favorite for cash-strapped governors and state legislators, might find a friendlier Congress than in previous years.

CJ: Wake parents, students condemn diversity policy
APEX — Parents, students, and elected officials used a Wake County School Board public hearing this week at Apex High School to criticize the district’s reassignment policy that often shuffles students from school to school in the name of diversity.

Jobless rates rise in all N.C. counties
FAYETTEVILLE — The November unemployment rate jumped in every North Carolina county, according to seasonally unadjusted estimates released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Commission. Economists from across the state said they expected some increase in the county-by-county numbers, given that the statewide rate, released recently, jumped 1 percent to 7.8 percent.

Perdue: Economy will block free tuition in '09
RALEIGH — Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue is dialing down some expectations for her first year in office due to the economy and the Legislature. In an interview three days before her swearing-in, Perdue said Wednesday she knows the state’s bad fiscal picture means her 2008 campaign platform of free community college tuition won’t happen in 2009.

Black charters at risk of closure
RALEIGH — In a scene that’s becoming frustratingly familiar to supporters of predominantly black charter schools, two Raleigh charters are in danger of being closed by the state. State education officials say they are simply holding PreEminent Charter and Torchlight Academy accountable for low test scores and other concerns by not recommending renewal of their charters when they expire in June.

Upcoming Events

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Michael Lowrey
NASA at 50: Can Private Business Help Save Manned Space Flight?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. General Reception-Cash Bar
7:15 p.m. Dinner

19th Annual Anniversary Dinner in the Triangle
with our special guest The Honorable Bobby Jindal
America: An Agenda for the Future

Friday, February 20, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. General Reception-Cash Bar
7:15 p.m. Dinner

19th Anniversary Celebration in the Charlotte Area
with our special guest Winston Churchill III
Register Now!

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

Capital Quotes

If you don’t have a job, you don’t care whether you're building a prison, a university building or a polar bear exhibit. You need that job and you need that income.
— Gov. Mike Easley, as quoted by the Associated Press, justifying moving up $740 million in capital projects by borrowing money sooner to pay for them. Among the items in the package of projects is a $2.7 million renovation of the North Carolina Zoo’s polar bear exhibit.

Twenty years from now he will be remembered simply as the governor between Jim Hunt and the state’s first woman governor.
Joe Sinsheimer, a former Democratic consultant in Raleigh, describing Mike Easley’s legacy to the Charlotte Observer.

We feel comfortable saying that this is a change in behavior, not just restrictions.
Maeneen Klein, conservation manager for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities, describing reductions in  water consumption to the Charlotte Observer. Single-family residential use has declined in the city by 32 percent since 2002.

When you add 15 percent to somebody’s water bill, that’s a tax, too.
— Raleigh Councilman Thomas Crowder, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, proposing that certain pricey planned water and sewer upgrades that would be paid for through higher fees be postponed.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Terry Stoops discusses push for pre-K programs, JLF’s Joe Coletti reacts to N.C.’s ideas to keep companies from dodging taxes, Sen. Dan Clodfelter questions Governor’s Crime Commission about grants to fight street gangs, the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s Jane Shaw explains the “Spirit of Inquiry” award and winner Bart Ehrman of UNC-Chapel Hill accepts, and JLF’s Daren Bakst discusses meaningful reform of forced annexation law.

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. Topic this week: The team that Perdue has put in place; whether or not to scrap vehicle inspections; and the road war going on between Charlotte and Fayetteville. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Charlotte Observer Associate Editor Jack Betts; and columnist Cash Michaels.

At Issue

This week on At Issue…
Watch At Issue, hosted by Kim Genardo, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Also available on the web at


© 2009 John Locke Foundation | 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, (919) 828-3876



Material published here may be reprinted provided the
Locke Foundation receives prior notice and appropriate credit is given.


JLF Network Websites & Blogs