Carolina Journal Weekly Report

June 12, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of June 12, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina could add more than 42,000 jobs at no cost to taxpayers if the federal government got rid of its estate tax. That figure is based on research associated with a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based American Family Business Foundation.

“While North Carolina continues to throw millions of dollars at companies to bring in much smaller numbers of jobs, this research suggests a much more effective way to put North Carolinians back to work,” said Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation Fiscal Policy Analyst. “State lawmakers have agreed to forgo as much as $46 million in tax revenue for the next 10 years so Apple will create 50 full-time jobs. If we can create 800 times as many jobs without taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets, it seems like a good idea.”

The new report does not spell out the additional job gains North Carolina would see with a repeal of its state death tax, Coletti said. “The state death tax contributes less than 1 percent of tax revenues, while the benefits of getting rid of the tax could be substantial,” he said. “I would bet that repealing the death tax has a better bang for the buck than giving targeted incentives to government-selected companies.”

A former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, conducted the research that led to an estimated 42,376 new jobs in North Carolina. Holtz-Eakin, a former Syracuse University economics department chairman, estimated the impact of repealing the federal estate tax at 1.5 million jobs nationally. Since the tax primarily targets owners of small and family businesses and family farms, North Carolina’s estimate is based on the percentage of the nation’s small-business jobs located in the Tar Heel state.

News Features

CJ: Bill seeks to head off regulation of private wells
RALEIGH — A bill that would prevent state and local governments from regulating private wells is still eligible for consideration in the General Assembly after just making the session’s crossover deadline in May.

CJ: State funds tagged for ‘Hall of Champions’
GREENSBORO — The costs of supporting the taxpayer-funded Greensboro Coliseum are now spread throughout the state of North Carolina. The Greensboro City Council, at the request of coliseum director Matt Brown, recently released $2 million in state funds to begin the first phase of a proposed Atlantic Coast Conference Hall of Champions.

CJ: Charlotte principals given new freedom
CHARLOTTE — Thanks to a program introduced by Superintendent Peter Gorman, some principals in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system are being freed from the burden of centralized management. Armed with innovation and frontline knowledge of each school’s challenges, these principals are using their judgment — and not that of district middle management — to make the best decisions for their schools.

Mary Easley fired; Oblinger resigns
RALEIGH — N.C. State Chancellor James L. Oblinger resigned and former first lady Mary Easley was fired Monday in a stunning new round of fallout over her job at the university. They join two earlier casualties: the provost who hired her, Larry Nielsen; and McQueen Campbell, the trustees’ chairman and Easley family friend who suggested the idea to Oblinger. Both stepped down last month.

Easley involved in wife’s hiring
RALEIGH — E-mail communication released Monday by North Carolina State University shows that former Gov. Mike Easley participated in conversations in 2005 that led to his wife getting a job at the university. The e-mails and other N.C. State records of Mary Easley’s hiring were turned over to a federal grand jury investigating the former governor’s dealings with friends and contributors while in office.

State taxes could go up
RALEIGH — The N.C. House took a major step yesterday toward approving a state budget plan that would cut spending across state government and raise taxes by nearly $800 million. The House voted 64-52 to incorporate the tax increases into a proposed spending bill for the budget year that will begin July 1. The vote, which came after hours of sharp debate, was along party lines, with Democrats supporting the tax increases and Republicans opposing them.

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 15, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Holly Jackson
A View from the Frontlines
How State Think Tanks are Winning the Battle of Ideas

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Triangle Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Look Behind the Scenes at What Your State Legislature is Doing

Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Down East Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Look Behind the Scenes At What Your Legislators Are Doing

Thursday, June 18, 2009 at Noon
JLF/Federalist Society Bi-Monthly Law & Public Policy Luncheon
with our special guest Dr. Andy Taylor
Judge Sotomayor and the Judicial Confirmation Process

Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Western N.C. Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Becki Gray
Legislative Update: A Look Behind the Scenes at What Your Lawmakers Are Doing

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

Capital Quotes

There’s no pride in this document.
— Rep. Pryor Gibson, D-Anson, commenting to the Winston-Salem Journal on the budget the state House passed this week. Gibson described the House’s budget as “the least painful thing that we could come up with.”

This is not savings — this instead would be a bad precedent of merely shifting costs from one level of government to another, and pretending that it’s savings.
— Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, in an e-mail to Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, on a proposal to start charging police officers and sheriff’s deputies a fee to be certified or re-certified by the state as means of helping to close the state’s budget deficit. Local governments, and not individual officers, would almost certainly pick up the tab for the (re)certification fees.

We’ve had some tough fights but I’ve never seen anything like the invective in this.
— GOP strategist Carter Wrenn, commenting to the Raleigh News and Observer on the level of acrimony in the race for the chairmanship of the state Republican Party.

As we looked at this project, we started from the premise that it was just not acceptable to let the stadium go into foreclosure.
— Winston-Salem City Manager Lee Garrity, as quoted by the Winston-Salem Journal, on the new baseball stadium currently under construction for the Winston-Salem Dash, a class A minor-league team. The Dash’s owners say that they haven’t been able to find private financing to finish construction of the $40.7 million stadium, and want the city to provide $15.7 million in loans and other aid on top of the $12 million the city has already pledged to the project.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
George Leef of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy discusses the call for academic freedom by professors; Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation compares luring business with low tax rates vs. targeted tax breaks; Doug Lance of the Alternative Community Penalties Program argues that sending some offenders to prison wastes taxpayer money; Sen. Pete Brunstetter and Reps. William Current and Nelson Dollar discuss the need for an independent redistricting commission; and JLF’s Terry Stoops reveals the incredible growth in nonclassroom school personnel.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join guest moderator Henry Hinton for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week: The latest casualties in the Easley Scandal; the changing makeup of our legislature; Apple Computer taking a bite out of taxpayers; and a new law that bans throwing away plastic bottles. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; political consultant Theresa Kostrzewa;  and former Lt. 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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