The Locker Room

September 17, 2010

Wonder how your tax burden will change in 2011?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:42 PM

The Tax Foundation wants to help you answer that question with the new website

As for which tax plan makes most sense, you'll find some good information here, here, and here.

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Global warming reversal in the states

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 2:30 PM

For most of the last decade the movement has been for states to jump on the global warming bandwagon and impose lifestyle restrictions and taxes on citizens across the country in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The North Carolina legislature did it's damage by colluding with the state's monopoly electricity providers and environmental pressure groups to pass SB3, the state's draconian restrictions on using inexpensive energy sources like coal and nuclear to light, heat and cool our homes. But now it looks like the tide is turning. California voters will have a chance to role back that state's restrictions in November. According to The Politico,

Proposition 23 would block the state’s carbon dioxide limits until the unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters. Unemployment currently is hovering at 12 percent and sponsors envision effectively killing the law, considering the rate has dropped below 5.5 percent for only three quarters since 1980.

And there is pressure on Chris Christie to withdraw from the state based cap and trade compact that NJ is involved in. My hope is that after November North Carolina will climb on the new repeal bandwagon, stop punishing its citizens and abolish SB3.

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Jenna takes on burnt burgers

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:22 AM

Think a well-done hamburger is an unnecessary waste of meat? Then you might like Jenna Ashley Robinson's latest column for

[State law] "requires pre-ground ground beef and foods containing ground beef to be cooked to an internal temp of at least 155°F," in other words, medium well. The law is a bit easier on those who grind in-house (that beef must be cooked to an internal temp of at least 130°F or medium rare).

The law is intended to curb the spread of E. Coli, a bacteria that, in some forms, can cause serious food poisoning in humans.

But such laws do more than attempt to combat food-borne illness. They force businesses to make a tough decision—between higher costs and a less tasty product. A burger reviewer at the Serious Eats blog, A Hamburger Today, described burgers cooked to the required 155°F as “rather dry and, unfortunately…the texture of meatloaf.” The alternative is for restaurant owners to spend extra money on unground beef, grinding equipment, and employee labor to grind their own hamburgers in-house.

Most states do not regulate cooking temperatures for ground beef, allowing individual business owners to make the decisions themselves based available safety information and their own judgment. And it’s worked out so far—those other states don’t have significantly higher rates of food-borne illness than we do here.

North Carolina regulators should allow NC business owners the same freedom—to take their own risks and reap their profits.

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The Chamber Strikes Back - School Wars: Episode V

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:53 AM

Cue Imperial March

Is the Raleigh News & Observer secretly cheering for the school board? My first question upon seeing the headline Wake leaders strike back on schools was whether Ron Margiotta was Han, Chewie, or Obi-Wan. John Tedesco is clearly in the role of Luke Skywalker. That seems to leave outside consultant Michael Alves, hired by the Raleigh Chamber, as Darth Vader. The emperor, however remains hidden in the shadows: Is it Jim Goodmon, the Rev. William Barber, Harvey Schmitt, or someone else as yet unmentioned?

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N.C. unemployment rate dips to 9.7 percent, remains above national average

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:32 AM

North Carolina's unemployment rate has hovered above the national average for 2 1/2 years, and even the latest improvement noted this morning does not hide the fact that new federal mandates and regulations are encouraging may business owners and entrepreneurs to hold off on hiring.

Joe Coletti discusses the situation here and in the video clip below.

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Pro-life group blasts Perdue

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:04 AM

A national pro-life group is criticizing Gov. Bev Perdue for declining to investigate the state university system’s policy of covering elective abortions in student health insurance plans.

In a press release yesterday, Students for Life executive director Kristan Hawkins called Perdue’s refusal to investigate “ridiculous.” Students for Life objects to the policy of covering elective abortions (deemed unnecessary for medical reasons) in the school system’s health insurance policy. The group also says federal funds could be flowing to abortion, in violation of law.

In a letter to the student group, Perdue wrote:

My office has received your recent correspondence. I always appreciate hearing from engaged citizens about issues that are important to them.

Thank you for providing a thorough statement of your organization’s concerns. I understand you are also communicating with the University of North Carolina system about this issue.

Carolina Journal has covered the story here, here, here, and here.

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RE: Democrats for Tax Hikes

Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:03 AM

I would be remiss if I failed to mention two Carolina Journal Online Exclusives we published in July, when we asked North Carolina's candidates for Senate and U.S. House how they would handle the expiring tax cuts.

Of the Democratic incumbents, 7th District Rep. Mike McIntyre did not respond to our requests for comment, but as yesterday's post noted, McIntyre subsequently has stated he wants to extend all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

To recap, in late July, Reps. G.K. Butterfield (1st), Bob Etheridge (2nd), Heath Shuler (11th), and Brad Miller (13th) also refused to respond to Carolina Journal's questions about the tax cuts.

Rep. David Price (4th) said, "Democrats have no intention of letting the 2001 tax cuts expire for the 97 percent of Americans making less than $250,000," suggesting he agrees with that approach.

Rep. Mel Watt (12th) voted against the tax cuts initially but his office would not say how he would prefer the expiring tax cuts to be handled.

Again, stay tuned.

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Tim Geithner takes it on the chin

Posted by George Leef at 09:41 AM

Sheldon Richman uses his The Goal is Freedom column to pummel Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for his recent statement in support of increasing taxes on "the rich." Richman analyzes Geithnerian logic and finds it to be a tissue of fallacies meant to deceive gullible Americans.

Read through to the end and you'll also get a wonderful blast at John Kerry.

Statists left and right need to manipulate people into thinking that good things will happen when they control the government. They're horrified at the prospect that millions of Americans they thought they had under their control are starting to figure out that they've been had.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:15 AM

  • House Minority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, predicts that if the election were held now, the GOP would pick up 14 to 15 seats in the state House. The party needs a net gain of nine to win control.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is coming to South Carolina.

  • Ilario Pantano, Republican candidate in the 7th Congressional District, gets appointed one of the GOP’s “Young Guns."

  • GOP'er Ralph Hise leads incumbent state Sen. Joe Sam Queen by 12 percent in the 47th Senate District, according to a GOP-aligned polling firm.

  • GOP leaders campaign for Harry Warren in House District 77. Warren faces incumbent Democrat Lorene Coates in November.

  • Q&A with GOP candidate Jon Hardister in House District 57.

  • The Washington Daily News: “Revolt” wheeling its way to Washington.

  • The Hill: Fear of GOP takeover forces unions to back Dems critical of health care reform. U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, D-8th, is mentioned.

  • B.J. Lawson, Republican candidate in the 4th Congressional District, gets endorsed by two GOP doctors in Congress.

  • Rock the Vote poll shows that young voters lean Democratic, and the economy is their top concern.

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Tea Party impact in N.C. 7?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:44 AM

WWAY Television explores the idea in a new report.

November is just weeks away and campaigning is getting more and more heated. After Tuesday's primaries, some see the Tea Party victories as a wake-up call to Republicans.

Paige Freeman is the local leader for the Americans for Prosperity group.

"The Tea Party movement was not taken seriously a year and a half ago and they've gained a lot of momentum," said Freeman. "They've had a lot of victories such as these last state primaries and I think they've flexed their muscle."


Here at home, Republican Ilario Pantano also has Tea Party backing.

Pantano said, "I think the Tea Party movement is a reflection of a broader movement that our society right now, where citizens of all parties including Republicans, Independents and Democrats, are rejecting the status quo of political landscapes."

Some say the move is anti-incumbent.

Freeman says it all comes down to what candidates stand for.

"I don't think it's so much that," said Freeman. "I don't think it's so much anti-incumbent, or anti-Republican, although there's those that feel the Republicans have compromised too much with the Democrats."


Pantano paints himself as the ultimate outsider. He's vying for the seat held by Democrat Mike McIntyre, who Pantano calls a career politician, who uses pork to hang on to power.

Pantano vows to pull the pork and represent the entire country's best interest.

North Carolina's 7th District congressional race has attracted recent attention from Carolina Journal Online's David Bass and former John Locke Foundation election panelist John Gizzi.

Speaking of election panels, Michael Barone will join the Locke Foundation for a Sept. 29 luncheon discussion about the upcoming election.

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Needling the School System

Posted by Hal Young at 07:10 AM

I can probably tell you about more Presbyterian splinter groups than you can imagine, and don't start me on Baptist sects (Disclosure: I'm a Reformed Baptist, a denomination small enough it would explain why I know a lot about Presbyterians). But this is a new one to me:

A Clayton High School freshman twice suspended because of her nose piercing says officials aren't respecting her little-known religion, which encourages piercings and tattoos. ...

The Iaconos want the school system to recognize the Church of Body Modification as a religion worthy of such an exemption. Nikki Iacono, 32, said she spoke with Clayton High Principal Clint Eaves, who denied the family's request.

"He pretty much said to me that according to his interpretation of our beliefs ... that it wasn't necessary for her to have a nose piercing," Iacono said. "I think it's unfair that the school district is able to interpret our beliefs and our sincerity."

Eaves could not be reached for comment Friday.

Interestingly enough, the ACLU wasn't available for comment, either.

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In case you missed him ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:09 AM

Terry Stoops questioned during a WTVD report last night State Board of Education chairman Bill Harrison’s new $90,000 job overseeing North Carolina’s federal Race to the Top grant funds.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:08 AM

North Carolina never seems to have a shortage of political scandals. Rick Henderson offers updates on three of them — involving former N.C. lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings, retiring Sen. R.C. Soles, and former top lobbyist Don Beason — during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Roy Cordato will react to Vice President Joe Biden’s recent statement that a return to Republican-led government would mean a return to “George W. Bush on steroids,” while Daren Bakst will compare the costs of nuclear and solar power.

Duke economics and public policy professor Jacob Vigdor will discuss the importance of immigrant assimilation, and we’ll learn about the State Health Plan’s financial picture.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with author and Cato Institute adjunct scholar Arnold Kling about forcing governments to compete for constituents. 

Michael Sanera's guest Daily Journal features the address he gave during a ceremony marking last weekend's anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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