Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 01, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of May 01, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s congressional delegation served up $228 million in pork barrel spending for fiscal 2009, a 5 percent jump from the previous year, according to the latest report from the government watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

CAGW’s 2009 “Congressional Pig Book,” released one day before hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets to protest wasteful government spending in a series of “tea parties,” catalogued 10,160 total pork projects, also called earmarks, amounting to $19.6 billion writes David N. Bass for Carolina Journal.  Although the number of earmarks was down this year, the amount spent on those projects rose by 14 percent compared to fiscal 2008.

“Everyone in Washington has promised a new era of transparency and restraint in earmarks, from President Obama to the leaders of both parties in Congress. Sadly, the hard numbers from the 2009 appropriations bills tell a different story,” said CAGW president Tom Schatz in a press release.

Despite a pledge to reform the earmark system, President Obama last month signed a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill laced with pork barrel spending. “I am signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it’s necessary for the ongoing functions of government, and we have a lot more work to do,” Obama said.

News Features

CJ: Pasquotank loses manufactured housing case
RALEIGH — The state’s second highest court has rejected an attempt by an eastern North Carolina county to limit the age of manufactured housing units brought into the county. The N.C. Court of Appeals held that the General Assembly had not granted localities the authority to exclude or otherwise zone manufactured or mobile homes based upon value-based criteria.

CJ: Guilford officials wrestle with shortage of lawyers
GREENSBORO — The late Warren Zevon once sang, “Send lawyers, guns and money.” Right now, Guilford County government is saying forget the guns and money, just send lawyers, lawyers and lawyers.

CJ: Private colleges get creative
RALEIGH — Around the country, the economic downturn caught many schools by surprise, and both public and private universities have been searching for ways to cut back. At least initially, private colleges were more aggressive in crafting strategic cuts.

Tough love for Halifax schools
RALEIGH — Halifax County school employees must “succeed or go” during the three years the state will oversee education in the district, a state education official said in court Wednesday. Pat Ashley, an administrator with the state Department of Public Instruction, testified in a Wake County courtroom about a plan to reverse sliding student performance in Halifax, a struggling, poor district.

Audit seeks to explain $138M error on health plan
RALEIGH — The state employee health insurance plan bailed out last week with $675 million from taxpayers also ran into trouble last year because a new offering increased use of medical services and administrators were blind to the expenses passed along by Blue Cross, the state auditor’s office reported Thursday. The State Health Plan missed projections by $137.6 million in the year ending in June 2008.

Upcoming Events

Friday, May 01, 2009 at 9:00 am
North Carolina Coastal Conservative Conference
with Conservative leaders from across North Carolina including John Hood
The Conservative Movement in North Carolina

Saturday, May 02, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.
North Carolina Coastal Conservative Conference
Day 2 Conservtive Leaders
The Conservative Movement in North Carolina

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Allen Basala
Review of Regulatory Review

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
Special Tuesday Shaftesbury Luncheon
with our special guests Scott A. Hodge & Joseph Henchman
Tax Competition and Real Tax Reform

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

Capital Quotes

There ought to be some more cost savings than just $65 million. I think it’s time we’re going to have to get serious to really cut spending.
— Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, commenting to the Associated Press on Gov. Beverly Perdue ordering flexible furloughs of all state employees. The furloughs would save the state $65 million between now and the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.

We have enough people who have simply given up.
— N.C. State economist Michael Walden, explaining to the Charlotte Observer why there’s little cause for optimism in the Charlotte region’s unempoyment rate dropping to 11.4 percent in March from 11.7 percent in February. The Charlotte region had about 6,600 people fewer in the workforce in March; people who have given up looking for work are no longer considered to be “unemployed.”

The private sector knows how to do these things more efficiently and save money and save time.
David Joyner, executive director of the N.C. Turnpike Authority, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on a public-private partnership the authority is entering into with ACS Infrastructure Development, Dragados USA and other firms to finance and build the $650 million Mid-Currituck Bridge.

We’re in a rat race.
Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Roxboro, describing this session of the General Assembly to the Durham Herald-Sun. Wilkins said that this year has been more time consuming for him than at any point in the past while serving in the General Assembly. Wilkins is in his third term.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Tea party activists share their concerns in Fayetteville and Raleigh, JLF’s Becki Gray discusses ways to capitalize on tea party momentum, Sen. Eddie Goodall explains why N.C. should repeal the “death tax,” UNC-Charlotte’s David Hartgen addresses the state's transportation challenges, and Carolina Journal’s David Bass discusses fraud in the free- and reduced-lunch programs at public schools. 

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 Halifax schools takeover; the rise in deaths due to domestic violence; a proposed new law for video poker; and free speech on our college campuses. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; and former Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker.

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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