Carolina Journal Weekly Report

October 16, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of October 16, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Even a generous package of economic incentives from North Carolina taxpayers could not prevent Dell from announcing the closure of its Forsyth County desktop computer production facility last week, writes David. N. Bass for Carolina Journal.

And yet another economic incentives bill, eligible for consideration in the General Assembly’s short session next year, has some lawmakers and legal experts crying foul. They say it would waste taxpayer dollars on risky investments and potentially violate the state constitution. Even some legislators who normally support economic incentives to businesses are leery of the proposal.

The measure, known as the Life Sciences Development Act, would establish a private company to make taxpayer-funded loans of up to $30 million apiece to biotechnology and pharmacy startups in North Carolina. The N.C. Biotechnology Center has inquired about receiving startup money from the Golden LEAF foundation, a nonprofit created in 1999 to distrubute the proceeds of the state’s tobacco settlement, but Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach told Carolina Journal the nonprofit has made no commitment to provide any funding.

To underwrite the loans, the Life Sciences Development company would sell equity certificates (similar to shares of ownership) to investors. The goal: spur economic growth and create jobs in a down economy.

But critics say the bill gives taxpayers the short end of the stick by using public money to offer wealthy venture capitalists a risk-free outlay with a hefty upside.

News Features

CJ: New questions surround ousted treasury official
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s pension fund has invested $225 million since 2007 in Horsley Bridge Partners, a San Francisco investment firm where — according to the state’s former chief investment officer — the spouse of a top executive is also an executor of the ousted state official’s will.

CJ: School choice in N.C. takes a small step forward
RALEIGH — The movement to allow greater access to educational alternatives and programs, by expanding charter schools, providing tax credits for educational expenses, and giving homeschooled students more opportunities to participate in public school sports did not advance this year.

CJ: Court says some felons can own guns
RALEIGH — In 2004, the General Assembly passed legislation prohibiting convicted felons from possessing guns under any circumstances. In doing so, it took away the longstanding right of felons to hunt and to have handguns in their homes and businesses.

State forced to free 20 violent criminals
RALEIGH — Twenty murderers, rapists and robbers sentenced to life in North Carolina prisons in the 1970s will be released at the end of October as a result of recent court rulings. Most of the inmates are in their 50s and 60s, but many of them were convicted years ago of gruesome crimes that might have kept them locked up longer today. One of them successfully petitioned the courts to recognize that old laws defined a life sentence as 80 years, and that another law cut those sentences in half.

N.C. reports 24,442 jobs created by stimulus money
RALEIGH — Federal stimulus dollars are keeping thousands of people employed, information that North Carolina submitted to an oversight agency indicates. But lawmakers, economists and other observers are cautious in evaluating what amounts to the first round of detailed information about how the stimulus is working in North Carolina, where the unemployment rate has hovered near 11 percent the past few months.

Upcoming Events

Monday, October 19, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Western N.C. Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Terry Stoops
Transparency: What is really happening in our public schools?

Monday, October 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Rick Henderson
MSMeltdown: The Media Crisis and the Future of Self-Government

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
Piedmont Freedom Club Meeting
with our special guest Terry Stoops
Transparency: What is really happening in our public schools?

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

Capital Quotes

What we may end up seeing is a tax system that generates more tax dollars, which will ultimately fuel more government spending, and I can’t feel good about that.
— Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, commenting to the Greensboro News & Record on a proposed overhaul of the state’s tax system.

The problem is (that) there is no well of money to go to.
— House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, as quoted by WRAL-TV, rejecting calls by advocates for those with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and addictive diseases for a special legislative session to reverse state spending cuts on mental health services.

We thought Dell was a home run. And we’ll just have to continue to hit some singles and doubles to regain those thousand jobs.
Penny Whiteheart, executive vice president of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, describing to the Greensboro News & Record the Triad’s economic development prospects post-Dell.

Political power follows people. The more people you’ve got, the more power you’ve got.
Ferrel Guillory, director of The Program on Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, commenting to the Fayetteville Observer on the project’s estimates of how many seats in the General Assembly each county will get after the legislature is reapportioned based on the 2010 census. Wake County is projected to be a big winner, jumping from 9.36 House seats currently to a projected 11.73 House seats after reapportionment.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti offers seven steps to better, saner budgeting; NC State’s Andy Taylor examines tobacco’s changing political fortunes; Yuri Maltsev of Carthage College discusses the history of communism in his native country; Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch discusses Islamic extremists; and JLF’s Michael Sanera analyzes a Charlotte proposal to impose new responsibilities on landlords.

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: Recent municipal elections; the new gift ban imposed by Governor Perdue; the new fat tax that will be imposed on state employees; and a court decision that bans felons from getting gun permits. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; former House Speaker Joe Mavretic; and Cash Michaels, columnist for The Carolinian and the Wilmington Journal.

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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