Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 15, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of May 15, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Salisbury officials are “irresponsibly risking” taxpayer money on a $30 million fiber-optic cable system, according to a new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief. That system could force average taxpayers to “foot the bill for big business.”

“The average residential customer gains little from this system,” said report co-author Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Research Director and Local Government Analyst. “Television and phone quality will not be appreciably better than private-sector competitors, and the highest speeds available through fiber technology will come with a price tag too high for most residential subscribers.”

Approved last year, Salisbury’s $30 million fiber-optic network for Internet, phone, and television service is scheduled to be complete in mid-2010. It will be available initially through 217 miles of fiber-optic cable connecting 14,000 homes and businesses, according to the report. The city is using 20-year bonds to pay for the system.

“The city council and staff have said repeatedly that subscription fees will cover the network’s costs,” Sanera said. “A version of this line has been used in city after city to ease taxpayer concerns over a city entering a new high-risk, high-tech business in competition with the private sector.”

The truth is more complicated, Sanera said. “Although city officials intend for subscribers to pay for the system, the reality is city taxpayers are ultimately responsible for paying back the debt,” he said. “If Salisbury fails to attract enough subscribers for the new system, the city has indicated that it would increase the property tax rate by 9.5 cents on every $100 of assessed property value to cover any shortfall. That would represent a 16 percent increase over the current tax rate.”

News Features

CJ: Large families singled out for state audits
RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Revenue has a surprise for large families this tax season — an audit. Some who got the notice from a state tax auditor feel it’s a way for the state to hold on to their money as long as possible instead of sending them a timely refund check.

CJ: Public outrage accompanying revaluations
RALEIGH — Home foreclosure and unemployment rates are on the rise in North Carolina, but a new batch of property revaluations, and the tax hikes that often accompany them, could make life even more difficult for some residents.

CJ: State launches JobsNOW training program
RALEIGH — Gov. Beverly Perdue recently announced the launch of “12 in 6,” a worker training initiative aimed at laid-off workers and other job seekers. The name refers to 12 career paths that can be completed in less than six months, giving job seekers “a clear path to success in new, sustainable careers,” said Perdue.

General Assembly passes smoking ban
RALEIGH — Smoking will be outlawed in every restaurant and bar in North Carolina starting early next year. After months of vigorous debate, the N.C. General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to a bill that marks a historic break with the state’s long and lucrative tobacco legacy. It makes North Carolina the first major tobacco-producing state to pass such a restrictive ban on smoking.

Ruling backs death penalty
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s procedure for lethal injections was approved through the proper channels, according to a judge’s ruling released yesterday. The ruling is the second court decision this month that upholds the death penalty in the state, and it came on the same day that state legislators, in a separate action, voted to amend state law to try to clear the way for executions to resume in North Carolina.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest John Hood
Hayek, Strauss, and the Political Waltz

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Sandhills Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Behind the Scenes Look at Your State Lawmakers and What They are Doing

Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Southeastern Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Behind the Scenes Look at Your State Legislature

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Triad Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Look Behind the Scenes at What Your Legislators Are Doing

Thursday, June 04, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Piedmont Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Look Behind the Scenes at What Your Legislators Are Doing

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

Capital Quotes

I’m very disappointed with this whole matter.
Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina system, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, asking that McQueen Campbell resign as chairman of the N.C. State University board. Campbell was involved in obtaining a job at N.C. State for Mary Easley, wife of then-Gov. Mike Easley.

I go around to an awful lot of places and talk about the fact that we don't want to be like Mississippi, and in this case we do want to be like Mississippi.
Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about the House passing a bill he co-sponsored to have liability in lawsuits determined by a “contributory fault” standard instead of the “contributory negligence” standard that current applies in North Carolina. Mississippi adopted the contributory fault doctrine about a century ago.

We actually got to go eat.
— Rep. Curtis Blackwood, R-Union, as quoted by the Associated Press, commending House Speaker Joe Hackney’s efficiency in running the House during the rush to approve legislation before the General Assembly’s crossover deadline. Most provisions that weren’t passed by either the House of Senate by Thursday’s crossover deadline are effectively dead for the next two years.

Some folks over there lost their moral compass. We really need to re-establish the academic integrity over there.
— Fayetteville State University Chancellor James Anderson, as quoted by the Fayetteville Observer, announcing the suspension of the university’s bachelor of nursing program.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Terry Stoops compares economic diversity policies of Wake County and Charlotte/Mecklenburg schools; Sens. Dan Clodfelter and David Hoyle advocate for their tax package while Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger and House Minority Leader Paul Stam voice concerns; JLF’s Joe Coletti explains why senators took the wrong approach to tax reform; and JLF’s Michael Sanera discusses common issues affecting many local governments.

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: Tax reform or tax breaks; former Governor Easley’s troubles; annexation reform; and trying teens as adults. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; former legislator Gene Arnold; and former Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten.

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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