Carolina Journal Weekly Report

July 27, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of July 27, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — Less than a month after North Carolina legislators approved more money for the state’s film tax incentives program, a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight Report pans film incentives as a clear example of cronyism.

“The problem with these incentives is that the lower tax burden on film productions comes with the consequence of keeping tax burdens high on nonfavored businesses and industries,” said report author Jon Sanders, JLF Director of Regulatory Studies. “When government chooses one industry or business for special deals and breaks, there's a good chance that cronyism is at work.”

While detailing problems linked to film incentives, Sanders devotes another newly released Policy Report to the general problem of cronyism. Together, the two reports launch a new multipart series titled “Carolina Cronyism.”

“Cronyism is an umbrella term covering a host of government activities by which an industry or even a single firm or speculator is given favors and support they could not attain in market competition,” Sanders explained. “Examples include regulations that help favored businesses, laws that restrict new competitors from entering a market, government-sponsored cartels and monopolies, mandates requiring consumers to buy government-favored products, and tax breaks targeting specific businesses.”

State lawmakers added $60 million for film incentives in the final days of this year’s legislative session. Sanders’ report focuses on film incentives' basic flaws.

News Features

CJ: Southport megaport sinking from lack of support
RALEIGH — With no research in hand, in late 2005 the N.C. Ports Authority launched an effort to build what it called “America’s next great port” on the Cape Fear River next to Southport. The multibillion-dollar project, named the North Carolina International Terminal, now appears dead.

CJ: Republicans graded on promises
RALEIGH — The General Assembly recently wrapped up its first session under full Republican control since Reconstruction. GOP candidates in 2010 promised voters they would enact a detailed policy agenda if they won a legislative majority. How well did the GOP majority do?

CJ: Treasurer demands more transparency for pension investments
RALEIGH — State Treasurer Janet Cowell is pushing to require Nike Inc. and other large corporations to make their political contributions more transparent, a move that has drawn skepticism.

CJ: Taxes used to discourage sweepstakes parlors
HILLSBOROUGH — Staring intently at the color-splashed computer screen in front of him, J.C. Andrews twirled a mouse and prepared himself for whatever the video game threw at him. “People really enjoy this,” said Andrews, a Hillsborough resident and regular customer of Boone Square Business Center.

CJ: Buncombe school board member says majority trying to stifle dissent
ASHEVILLE — After months of complaining about being bullied by her colleagues on the Buncombe County Board of Education, Lisa Baldwin has enlisted the assistance of a state lawmaker to determine whether a new board policy improperly restricts her access to public records.

Upcoming Events

Monday, July 30, 2012 at 12:00pm Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Bob Geolas
The Future of the Research Triangle Park

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Friedman Legacy Freedom Lecture
with our special guests Dr. Roy Cordato, Dr. Terry Stoops, and Bob Luebke
Milton Friedman, School Choice, and Public Choice

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

Capital Quotes

The question is not whether the commission has authority. The question is whether or not it’s a good idea.
— Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Gordon, commenting to the Charlotte Observer, on the possibility of the N.C. Utilities Commission forcing out Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

We will have a ground game unlike anything North Carolina has ever seen before.
— Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about Democratic efforts to get out the black vote in North Carolina.

There’s one thing that’s more expensive than the H-2a [visa] program, and that’s having a beautiful crop ready to harvest and no one to pick it.
Lee Wicker, deputy director of the N.C. Growers Association, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about the importance of migrant labor from Mexico to the state’s farm economy.

This reporting system is ambiguous, lacks clarity, and is likely not to be very productive.
— UNC-CH professors Steven Bachenheimer, Michael Gerhardt, and Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, in a report on athletics and academics at the university, commenting on oversight of the academic support program for athletes. The program is suppose to be under the College of Arts and Sciences, but funding for the programs comes from the athletics department, and its director reports to an athletics department official.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Carolina Journal’s Rick Henderson analyzes progressive criticism of the national free-market group ALEC; state lawmakers debate inspection rules for newer cars; Sen. Marco Rubio discusses the American Dream and the 2012 election; author Thomas Thibeault talks about Americans who helped recover millions of artworks stolen by Nazis during WWII; and JLF’s Roy Cordato discusses Agenda 2012, a sweeping collection of JLF policy recommendations.

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: Gubernatorial election; Duke-Progress Energy merger fallout; UNC-CH forthcoming enough on scandal; and expunging criminal records. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; broadcastor Henry Hinton; and political consultant Brad Crone.


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