Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 06, 2011

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of May 06, 2011 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — A high-speed rail proposal for North Carolina would create “substantial” risks for taxpayers, while doing little to nothing to reduce traffic, help the environment, cut energy use, or create jobs. A new John Locke Foundation Policy Report cites these reasons and others while urging state leaders to walk away from high-speed rail.

“North Carolina should return the federal high-speed rail grant funding, withdraw its pending application, and seek no more funding for passenger rail,” said report author Wendell Cox, international public policy consultant for his firm Demographia.

“The N.C. Department of Transportation trumpets the supposed benefits of high-speed rail for this state, but this new analysis from a recognized expert in the fields of urban growth and transit policy shoots each of DOT's arguments down,” said Joseph Coletti, JLF Director of Health and Fiscal Policy Studies. “After reading this report, there should be no question that high-speed rail makes no sense for North Carolina taxpayers.”

Cox’s report arrives as North Carolina legislators consider whether to accept $461 million in federal stimulus funding for high-speed rail. Federal grants awarded to the state to date total $545 million, while N.C. DOT has applied for another $620 million, according to the report.

Far from being “free” money from Washington, strings attached to the grants would require subsidies from North Carolina taxpayers. If construction costs and ridership figures miss projections, those subsidies would be even higher than expected.

News Features

CJ: Fiscal stalemate continues
RALEIGH — A fiscal game of chicken between Republicans and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue continued this week as the GOP-controlled House passed a budget for the new fiscal year that lands 4 percent below Perdue’s spending target.

CJ: Emotions raw during hearing on abortion bill
RALEIGH — Members of a House judiciary subcommittee heard emotional testimony Wednesday on a bill to provide more information to women considering an abortion prior to the procedure.

CJ: Billy Packer questions state environmental calls
RALEIGH — Much like a basketball coach working a referee on the sidelines, all former CBS sportscaster Billy Packer wants from state environmental officials is consistency.

CJ: Tea Party activists say they are alive and well
RALEIGH — Although fewer Tea Party activists took to the streets this tax season, the movement is growing and stronger than ever, supporters say.

CJ: Core curriculum a mixed bag
RALEIGH — All North Carolina colleges and universities claim that they require undergraduates to take courses in “core” subjects such as composition, mathematics, and science. But a new Pope Center survey that scrutinized and quantified those claims shows that many schools fall short.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 09, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest John G. Redmond
If Great Schools Are So Important, Then Why the Glacial Pace for School Reform?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.
A Special Forum and Book Signing
with our guests Paul H. Bergeron and David O. Stewart
The Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson: An Examination

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:00pm-4:30pm
A Citizens' Constitutional Workshop in Franklin, N.C.
with presenters Dr. Troy Kickler & Dr. Michael Sanera
What the Founders and the State Ratification Conventions
Can Teach Us Today

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 1:00pm-5:30pm
A Citizens' Constitution Workshop in Murphy, N.C.
with presenters Dr. Troy Kickler & Dr. Michael Sanera
What the Founders and the State Ratification Conventions
Can Teach Us Today

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

Capital Quotes

This chapter belongs to us. These children belong to us.
— Gov. Bev Perdue, as quoted by the N.C. Association of Educators, at a Raleigh rally against cutting state educational spending.

I was sent here to bring some sanity to the budget process in Raleigh. I’m very proud of the budget that we’re about to pass.
— First-term Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, as quoted by the Associated Press, talking about the budget that the House passed.

As a legislator I have never really felt connected to what goes on at the ports.
— Rep. Carolyn Justice, R-Pender, talking to the Wilmington Star-News about the N.C. State Ports Authority. The Ports Authority will likely soon become part of the N.C. Department of Transportation, though what impact that will have on its autonomy remains to be determined.

The bad choice of dance partners made by the department is a fiscal mistake that should be absorbed by the city as a whole.
Chris Baker, president of the Stoneybrook Cottages homeowners association in Durham, as quoted by the Durham Herald-Sun, arguing that Durham should pay to complete infrastructure that the neighborhood’s developers never completed. The city required developers to provide insurance to cover the cost of completing roads and drainage facilities in Stoneybrook Cottages and eight other subdivisions should the developers go out of business. The developers did fail but the insurance proved inadequate to cover the cost of completing the work.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti refutes myths about the benefits of so-called high-speed rail; Eli Lehrer of the Heartland Institute recommends changes to the state’s auto insurance system; Rep. Jonathan Rhyne Faison (R-Lincoln) debates Rep. Bill (D-Orange) over medical malpractice lawsuits; attorney Philip Romohr analyzes 2010 N.C. Supreme Court decisions; Carolina Journal’s David Bass discusses social legislation making its way through the General Assembly. 

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: Second worst roads in the nation; barriers to terminal groins; trust funds or slush funds?; and cable bill bans municipalities. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Charlotte Observer associate editor Jack Betts; and political consultant Brad Crone.


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