Carolina Journal Weekly Report

January 06, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of January 06, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina could reverse its unemployment insurance deficit and repay its $2.6 billion trust fund debt by aligning its benefits and eligibility period more closely to those in neighboring states. Those changes would also limit future tax increases, according to a John Locke Foundation Spotlight report scheduled for release next week.

“While the trust fund debt has grown rapidly in just two-and-a-half years, changes of relative ease would pay off this debt in six years,” said report author Fergus Hodgson, JLF Director of Fiscal Policy Studies. “Doing so would halt the growing imposition of debt on future workers not yet able to defend themselves in the political process, and it would avert further intrusion and mandatory tax increases from the federal government.

The General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Study Committee subpoenaed testimony on the unemployment debt this morning from the head of the N.C. Division of Employment Security.

Hodgson’s report recommends adjusting the state’s payment formula to align with South Carolina's current benefits. That would cut the average weekly unemployment benefit from $292 to $239. Hodgson also recommends cutting the number of exclusively state-funded weeks of unemployment benefits from 26 to 20.

The state owes the $2.6 billion to the federal government. North Carolina started borrowing money from the feds during the Great Recession after draining the state's unemployment insurance trust fund.

News Features

CJ: Congressional committee asks Perdue to produce BLS records
RALEIGH — The U. S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce has requested that Gov. Bev Perdue provide information spelling out how she was able in August to release North Carolina employment data that was supposed to be protected by an embargo.

CJ: Veto override raises legal questions
RALEIGH — Holiday cheer gave way to Scrooge-like griping during two contentious sessions Wednesday and early Thursday morning in which Republicans overrode Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that eliminates an automatic dues check-off option for members of the state teacher’s association.

CJ: Feds rule state dental board stifled competition
RALEIGH — In early December, the Federal Trade Commission voted that the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners had stifled competition illegally by excluding non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services or products to consumers.

CJ: UNC-CH profit centers could be in IRS crosshairs
CHAPEL HILL — The Internal Revenue Service is conducting a major audit of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other higher education institutions. The audits may highlight a concern that entrepreneurs have aired about universities for decades.

Deal leaves Racial Justice Act in limbo
RALEIGH — House Republican leaders, unable to muster enough votes to override the governor's veto of the bill gutting the Racial Justice Act, consented Wednesday to a last-minute attempt at finding a compromise that might appease opponents of the two-year-old law without making them appear indifferent to potential bias in death-penalty trials.

Upcoming Events

Monday, January 09, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Jenna Ashley Robinson
"Economic Freedom: What does it mean for the United States?"

Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
22nd Anniversary Dinner
with our special guest Judge Andrew Napolitano
JLF 22nd Anniversary Dinner with Judge Andrew Napolitano

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

Capital Quotes

This should be a learning experience.
— House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, as quoted by the Associated Press, on the House’s override of a veto of a bill prohibiting N.C. Association of Educators dues from being taken directly out of teacher’s paychecks. Tillis noted that the Republican leadership has said for the past six months that veto overrides can be considered anytime the House is in session.

This type of ‘bipartisan, for-the-people façade’ would make a tyrant blush.
Scott Laster, executive director of the state GOP, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, commenting on Gov. Bev Perdue’s picks to a panel that will help screen candidates for judicial appointments.

We do have a very diverse caucus. And they’re not a bunch of sheep.
— Minority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about House Democrats.

We’re going to be sick of campaign commercials by next Election Day.
Eric Heberlig, an associate political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, talking to the Associated Press about the magnitude of campaigning that is likely to take place in North Carolina in 2012.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Becki Gray analyzes accomplishments of recent legislative mini-sessions;legislators debate when and how state agencies should consult with the legislature on big-ticket spending; legislative economist Barry Boardman and Sen. Jerry Tillman discuss the relationship between sales tax rates and tax revenues; Moore County resident Vern Pike discusses his book on “Checkpoint Charlie,” and Jeanette Doran of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law looks at 2012 priorities for the organization she now leads.

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 entire NC SPIN episode will feature our panel giving their insights into the 2012 elections. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; columnist Cash Michaels; and political consultant Brad Crone.


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