Carolina Journal Weekly Report

March 06, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of March 06, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Nine of North Carolina’s 30 largest cities increased government revenues by at least 20 percent more than inflation and population growth rates from 2002 to 2007. Thirty-three counties also compiled growth rates in excess of 20 percent, according to a new John Locke Foundation Policy Report.

“The current economic recession has left many North Carolina cities and counties strapped for money,” said report co-author Joseph Coletti, JLF Fiscal Policy Analyst. “As economic activity declines, sales taxes, fees, and other revenue sources decline.”

“Many city councils and county commissions are considering ways to increase taxes, a very bad idea during the recession,” added co-author Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Research Director and Local Government Analyst. “Others are asking the federal government to bail them out. Our report shows that many North Carolina cities and counties have only themselves to blame.”

Before the recession, these local governments spent money faster than population growth and inflation would warrant, Sanera said. “Instead of cutting taxes, they started or expanded unnecessary or low-priority projects.”

Among the 30 largest cities, Mooresville had the highest revenue growth from 2002 to 2007. After adjusting for inflation and population growth, Mooresville's revenues grew by 41 percent. A family of four would have had to take in an extra $2,435 to cover the additional government costs from 2002 to 2007.

News Features

CJ: Vehicle project seeks $18 million jump start
RALEIGH — Supporters of a struggling state-funded vehicle research center in Northampton County are seeking an additional $18.2 million from state taxpayers. Since the center’s inception in 2005, the General Assembly and other public sources have committed $17 million to the project.

CJ: Growing number of autistic kids strain schools
CHARLOTTE — North Carolina’s public schools educated 9 percent more autistic children in 2008 than 2007, the Department of Public Instruction has found. The number of students eligible for special services reached 9,755 this year, raising questions about how schools are dealing with an influx of students whose conditions may range from nearly fully functional to more severely disabled.

CJ: Busing foes blamed for wanting to limit diversity
RALEIGH — Parents who oppose reassignment and socioeconomic busing in Wake County want to “roll back diversity,” said county commissioner Stan Norwalk at a recent public forum in downtown Raleigh. But others who spoke at the forum said the current system is failing minority students.

N.C. executions unlikely to resume anytime soon
RALEIGH — It’s been more than two years since North Carolina put an inmate to death, and the unofficial freeze on capital punishment isn’t likely to thaw anytime soon. The number of prosecutors winning death penalty convictions has nearly come to a halt. A confusing legal battle over whether doctors can be involved in lethal injections is meandering through state courts.

Duke: Obama plan would bring higher rates
CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy says Carolinas electricity rates would rise by at least 13 percent under President Obama’s plan to address climate change by auctioning off carbon credits. Obama would set the nation’s first limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas linked to global warming.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 09, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest C. L. Gray, MD
THE COMING AGE OF POST-HIPPOCRATIC MEDICINE: What History Teaches Us About the Future of American Healthcare

Friday, March 13, 2009 at 3 p.m.
Sandhills Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest John Hood
How To Get Involved With Your Local Freedom Club

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Piedmont Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest John Hood
How To Get Involved With Your Local Freedom Club

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

Capital Quotes

Somebody is going to say we’re feathering our own nest. Believe me, we don’t even have sticks here. It’s more like barbed wire.
— Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on her bill that would give state legislators the same pay increases that other state employees receive.

Why have a plan that’s not really real, that doesn’t mean anything?
— N.C. Transporation Secretary Gene Conti, as quoted by the Associated Press, talking about the state’s Transportation Improvement Plan. Though the TIP lists projects to be built over the next seven years, many of those projects never happen. As part of a series of reforms announcement by Conti, DOT staff, and not the appointed state-borad member, will select which projects get built.

That was a pot of money sitting there.
— Gov. Bev Perdue, as quoted by the Associated Press, on her decision to transfer $87.6 million in state lottery profits to help close the state’s budget deficit. Lottery funds were suppose to be used only to boost state spending on education.

You can’t win if you don’t play.
— Sen. Ed Jones, D-Halifax, describing to the Raleigh News & Observer why he filed 10 bills seeking a total of $17.2 million in special appropriations for his district despte the state’s bleak budget outlook. Jones noted that should extra funds materialize, by filing the bills, there was at least some chamce that a few of the items might get funded.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Becki Gray highlights the most interesting bills filed by legislators; JLF’s Joe Coletti responds to
comments from Rep. Garland Pierce, Sen. Ed Jones and House Speaker Joe Hackney about policies to help the poor; Gregory Rehmke of Economic Thinking discusses ways the layman can approach important economic issues, and CJ Radio’s Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai talk about Orange County’s possible ban on drive-thru windows and JLF’s new Freedom Clubs.

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: Whether video poker machines are about to return to our state; the slow start to this year’s legislature; Senator Kay Hagan’s union label; and a possible ban on smoking in public places. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer; and Henry Hinton, host of Eastern NC’s “Talk of the Town.”

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


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