Carolina Journal Weekly Report

December 23, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of December 23, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Government agencies that shine light on their work use resources more wisely, find potential budget savings more easily, and give taxpayers more reasons to trust them. The John Locke Foundation’s top budget analyst reaches that conclusion in a new Policy Report.

“Government at all levels needs to be more open and accountable to voters and taxpayers,” said Joseph Coletti, JLF Fiscal and Health Care Policy Analyst. “Greater accountability depends in part on being more open about how government spends its money and what it gets for that spending. Accountability also depends on an open process of developing laws and regulations.”

Coletti is releasing his new report at the same time as the John Locke Foundation unveils a new pocket guide to government transparency. The guide offers officials and taxpayers a concise, easy-to-use tool promoting the benefits of open government.

Recent North Carolina history is “rife” with examples of problems linked to government business conducted behind closed doors, Coletti said. “From the recent controversy surrounding former Gov. Mike Easley’s financial dealings to the scandal associated with the unexpected hole in the State Health Plan’s budget, this state has suffered when politicians have tried to hide the public's business from scrutiny.”

Coletti’s report focuses on three aspects of open government: financial, process, and regulatory transparency.

News Features

CJ: Jobs, innovation, education Perdue’s priorities
RALEIGH — Job creation, government innovation and transparency, and education are expected to take center stage in the second year of the administration of Gov. Beverly Perdue. In a meeting Monday afternoon at the Governor’s Mansion with members of the press, Perdue acknowledged that 2009 “has been the hardest year in the state of North Carolina since the Great Depression,” but that she believes the state’s finances are structurally sound.

CJ: Wake reformers to revamp real-estate deals
RALEIGH — Members of Wake County’s new school board majority say they’ll take a sounder approach to real estate and school construction in light of past accusations of overpriced, suspect deals. “We have to take a very careful, good look at the present real estate department. I don’t have any confidence in it myself because of past performance,” said school board member Ron Margiotta.

CJ: Asheville Charter School offers hands-on learning
ASHEVILLE — Nestled amongst the sweet smelling pines and rolling hills of Western North Carolina is a place where students cultivate a rain garden — to learn not only about nature, but also the intricate system of hydrologic action of the plants that ultimately produces cleaner rainwater runoff. In the classroom, students sit at tables, in beanbag chairs, on the rug or under tables to read their books.
The teachers call it learning; the kids think it’s a grand adventure.

State appeals court upholds video poker ban
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s appeals court on Tuesday upheld a statewide ban on video poker machines except those operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in their Smoky Mountains casino. A three-judge court panel ruled unanimously that a 2006 state law giving the tribe exclusive gaming rights within North Carolina does not violate a federal Indian gaming law as an amusement machine vendor had argued.

NC Supreme Court to hear ‘life’ inmates case
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s highest court plans to hear the case of two convicted murderers who contend their “life” sentences are now complete, expediting a schedule of arguments while keeping the prisoners in custody until the matter is resolved. Supreme Court clerk Christie Cameron said Tuesday that justices have established an expedited schedule to take briefings before the end of January. She said oral arguments could be set for February.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
20th Anniversary Event
with our special guest Newt Gingrich
The Future of America

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

Capital Quotes

Job growth in the state in 2010 and 2011 will be significantly better than in 2009, yet will still be weak by historical standards.
— N.C. State University economics professor Michael Walden, commenting to the Winston-Salem Journal about the North Carolina economy. Walden expects unemployment to peak at 11.6 percent but drop below 10 percent by the end of 2010 and under 9 percent by the end of 2011.

This incentives game is not securing economic vitality for the state.
Bob Orr, the former state Supreme Court justice who heads the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, commenting to the Charlotte Observer on the state’s incentive programs.

I’ve known Tony Rand as a man of integrity.
— Gov. Bev Perdue, as quoted by the Fayetteville Observer, on Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland.

I don’t believe America is the only country that has colleges.
Ron Woodard of anti-illegal immigration group N.C. Listen, commenting to the Greensboro News & Record on a new policy that allows illegal immigrants into the state’s community colleges, though at out-of-state tuition rates.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s John Hood provides a roadmap for North Carolina’s economic recovery; former chairman of the FEC Bradley Smith explains legal and constitutional problems with taxpayer-financed elections; breast cancer survivor Tracy Walsh discusses her concerns with government-run health care; National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru discusses challenges facing conservatives; and JLF’s Roy Cordato explains the pressing need for tax reform.

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. This week’s show offers a review of the top stories of the year, including the economy, government corruption, and the legislative session. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; and former House Speaker Joe Mavretic.


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