Carolina Journal Weekly Report

April 10, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of April 10, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s tax system needs radical reform to maximize prosperity and minimize harm to individual liberty. That’s the theme of the John Locke Foundation’s latest Macon Series Policy Report.

“The state’s current system of taxation aggressively interferes with individual liberty and retards economic growth,” said report author Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. “The existing tax system rewards some activities and penalizes others without any sound economic basis.”

Cordato is releasing his report as some legislators push for tax changes that would take away freedom, rather than promoting it. “The state tax code does not need new taxes on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, or other products these legislators don’t like,” he said. “The state should repeal separate sales taxes for these items, as well as taxes on restaurant meals and soft drinks.”

Lawmakers should focus on more than just the amount of revenue particular taxes generate, Cordato said. “Some types of taxation are more damaging to freedom and prosperity than others.’

Cordato urges lawmakers to adopt the “liberty principle” as they consider tax reform. “The liberty principle stands in direct opposition to the redistributionist principle,” he said. “The redistributionist principle says the more people earn, the greater proportion of their income should be paid in taxes. There’s no relation to the benefits received from taxes.”

News Features

CJ: Basnight-inspired ‘B&B’ concerns Hyde Countians
RALEIGH — A plan to use taxpayers’ money to turn a decaying former pump house and no-frills hunting and fishing lodge into a classy state-owned bed-and-breakfast inn got its start when Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight put his blessing on the project two years ago. Now some local citizens say the state-subsidized hostelry is a threat to nearby businesses, especially inns and restaurants.

CJ: Governor cuts UNC Budget, adds some for community colleges
RALEIGH — Citing jobs and economic development as her primary concerns, Gov. Beverly Perdue’s proposed two-year budget spared community colleges from the largest cuts. Because the community colleges are so directly tied to immediate development of the workforce, they were one of the few areas that received an increase — of just 1 percent — instead of a cut.

House wants to see tax figures
RALEIGH — House leaders accepted cautiously Thursday the Senate’s proposed North Carolina state government budget, worried whether they'll ultimately need to make more cuts or raise more taxes than their counterparts. In any event, the House’s chief budget-writers predicted they’ll make some significant changes in the Senate plan when they unveil their version later this spring.

Bill to fund local races backed
GREENSBORO — Taxpayers could help fund city council campaigns under a measure given tentative approval by the N.C. House on Wednesday evening. The House must confirm its 60-52 vote today before sending the measure to the Senate. Rep. Pricey Harrison, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said many Greensboro residents supported the bill because they were worried about the increasing cost of city council campaigns.

N.C. Railroad yields on land use
RALEIGH — The steel pathway from Charlotte to the coast that was synonymous with progress when its tracks were laid in the 1850s is once again becoming central to the state's plans - and once again raising the ire of its neighbors. The N.C. Railroad is backing off what some said was a heavy-handed approach toward businesses and institutions that had slowly encroached on a swath of land surrounding the train tracks that the railroad claims as its own.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Western N.C. Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest John Hood
How To Get Involved With Your Local Freedom Club

Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.
The State of Our Constitution: Taxation
with our special guests Gene Boyce, Dr. Jeff Broadwater, Dr. John Dinan
Taxes and the North Carolina Constitution

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

Capital Quotes

It’s going to be machete cutting time… I hope I’m as wrong as three left shoes.
— Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, describing to the Raleigh News & Observer the N.C. House’s likely response to the budget passed by the N.C. Senate.

I still think it’s a waste of money but you can’t kill all the snakes at one time.
— Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, as quoted by the Asheville Citizen-Times on the Senate’s decision to drop a Rand’s proposal to no longer fund multiple school districts per county.

I’m in that old school that says if it isn’t broken, then what are you trying to fix?
Ashley Thrift, a lawyer in Winston-Salem who is on the UNC-TV board of trustees, commenting to the Winston-Salem Journal on a proposal inserted in the Senate budget by Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, to place UNC-TV under the jurisdiction of the UNC School of the Arts. The television system currently is under the direct jurisdiction of the UNC board of governors.

That ‘Sex in the City’ splurging on clothes, expensive purses, handbags and shoes is really getting pinched.
Deborah Strumsky, an assistant professor in UNC Charlotte’s geography and earth sciences department, commenting to the Charlotte Observer on one of the effects of the current recession.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Dallas Woodhouse of Americans for Prosperity discusses N.C.’s “tea party” movement and April 15 events, activists Danny Martinez and Melodye Aben explain why they’re involved in the movemement, Rep. Laura Wiley (R-Guilford) discusses tax credits for families of kids with special needs, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute exposes the top ten myths that cloud the health care debate, and JLF’s Terry Stoops delves into claims that the state’s dropout prevention grants are working.

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: The Senate’s budget; an “epidemic” of uninsured; and merger mania for school systems. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; political consultant Brad Crone; and former House Speaker Joe Mavretic.

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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