Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 29, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of May 29, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s continuing unemployment problems should send a clear signal to lawmakers preparing the N.C. House budget: scuttle any plans for higher taxes. The John Locke Foundation’s top budget analyst offered that recommendation after reviewing the numbers.

The N.C. Employment Security Commission’s latest report lists the state’s unemployment rate at 10.8 percent for April, unchanged from March rate. The rate has leveled off after climbing every month for more than a year.

“The latest numbers indicate that North Carolina continues to struggle with one of the nation's worst unemployment rates,” said Joseph Coletti, JLF Fiscal Policy Analyst. “State government needs to take steps to help boost the prospects for job creation and entrepreneurial investment, not special breaks for select companies and higher taxes for everyone else. Unfortunately, Gov. Beverly Perdue and the N.C. Senate have prescribed more than $1 billion in new taxes over the next two years.”

Now the House faces an even larger budget hole than the governor and Senate projected in their budget plans, Coletti added. “Some in the House will use the deteriorating state revenue picture to push for even larger tax increases,” he said. “That is precisely the wrong way to address the problem. Declining revenues offer a good opportunity to cut state government spending and leave more money available for the private-sector investment that will get the economy moving.”

News Features

CJ: Economy taking its toll on regional planning
GREENSBORO — Like practically everything else these days, the economy is taking its toll on regional planning in the Piedmont Triad area, putting a damper on high hopes for the “aerotropolis” local leaders have been envisioning for years now.

CJ: Charter schools focus on achievement gaps
CHARLOTTE — It’s hurry up and waitlist at many of the 97 charter schools located throughout North Carolina. Three of the five elementary/middle charter schools in the state currently partnered with National Heritage Academies, based out of Grand Rapids, Mich., are no exception.

House Democrats say proposed cuts are for real
RALEIGH — House Democrats have a message for North Carolina residents: these spending cuts are serious. Faced with a $4.6 billion budget gap - $1.5 billion more than what Gov. Beverly Perdue and Senate Democrats faced when assembling their spending plans the past two months - House leaders are proposing to slash state government to levels unseen in at least 30 years.

Subpoenas swell Easley job probe
RALEIGH — Federal investigators are asking what the state Auditor’s Office knows about how former state first lady Mary Easley got her job at N.C. State University. Easley’s $170,000-a-year appointment has become the center of a political whirlwind. NCSU and UNC system leaders are calling for her resignation, and legislators are trying to figure out how to eliminate her job by cutting funding for her salary.

N.C.’s jobless rate may not have peaked yet
WINSTON-SALEM — North Carolina’s jobless rate may have been unchanged in April, but economists cautioned yesterday that the rate staying at 10.8 percent is more a reflection of the state’s economy nearing a bottom rather than beginning a recovery. “We were in a free fall with the national and state economy for the fall and most of the winter, so it appears we may be stabilizing,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist for Wachovia Securities. “But keep in mind it may be stabilizing at a very high level of unemployment.”

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 01, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Dallas Woodhouse
Take Back Our State Tea Party-A protest against the One Billion Dollar State Tax Increase

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

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 at 4:30 p.m.
Take Back Our State Tea Party
Featuring Joe the Plumber and Fox News Channel's Mary Katherine Ham
Statewide Tea Party

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

Monday, June 08, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
The State of Our Constitution
with our special guests A Distinguished Panel of Experts
The North Carolina Constitution and Property Rights

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

Capital Quotes

This is about stretching people’s thinking.
Charles D. Leffler, NCSU’s vice chancellor for finance and business, describing to the Raleigh News & Observer a July 15 deadline for departments to come up with how they would deal with an 18 percent budget cut. While budget cuts enacted by the General Assembly aren’t expected to be that deep, asking for an outline of how to handle such a large cut is intended to spur radically rethinking of how units at the university are organized and operate.

This is an opportunity for us to get it right.
— Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, as quoted by the Associated Press on a provision being considered by the House’s health and human services budget subcommittee that would almost entirely eliminate the “community support” program for at-home, non-medical care for mental health patients and have the Department of Health and Human Services rebuild the program from scratch. A 2007 review found that the community support program had wasted hundreds of millions of dollars.

I’m just wondering if everybody in state government is tone deaf.
— Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on a two-week, $137,500 trip to Europe next month by five N.C. Department of Commerce officials.

There are fewer dollars out there to be had, period, end of discussion.
— Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan, describing to the Charlotte Observer the fund-raising environment for nonprofits and politicians.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Becki Gray discusses key bills that remain alive at the state legislature; Sen. Eddie Goodall, Elon University’s Connie Book, the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform’s Jane Pinsky, and Damon Circosta of the N.C. Center for Voter Education explain why they want legislative sessions to be televised; Rep. Tim Moore discusses why a recent N.C. Supreme Court ruling should restart executions; Rajesh Rao of IndUS Health discusses medical tourism; and Dallas Woodhouse of Americans for Prosperity talks about the Take Back Our State Tea Party in Raleigh.

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: Some good news about tourism; teachers on the warpath; Alcoa’s battle to renew permits on the Yadkin River; and whether we should allow groins or jetties along our coast. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; political consultant Brad Crone; and Eastern North Carolina’s “Talk of the Town” host Henry Hinton.

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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