• Budget, Taxation, and the Economy

    • Economic Growth

      Beginning in 2013 with the passage of tax and regulatory reform, the North Carolina legislature has begun consciously to pursue policies that are meant to expand economic growth on a statewide level (See sections titled “Tax Reform”… Read More
    • Federal Aid Dependency

      Every state in the nation relies on the federal government for some portion of its budget. Over the last decade, many states have developed a higher reliance on federal funds than they have had historically, and North Carolina is no… Read More
    • Film Incentives

      “Bull Durham,” “Last of the Mohicans,” “Dirty Dancing,” and most other beloved “North Carolina films” wereproduced without film incentives. They were made years and years before state officials ever thought the industry required government help. Read More
    • Highways and Interstates

      North Carolina’s road quality has been steadily improving in recent years. It is now at or above the national average in some studies. Importantly, recent reform of the state transportation funding formula… Read More
    • Minimum Wage

      Working for the lowest allowable wage is nobody’s ideal. People are rightfully moved by the thought of their neighbors toiling in menial work for small wages. They know how hard it is to make ends meet, even… Read More
    • State Pensions and Other Benefit Plans

      The State of North Carolina is the largest employer in the state with nearly 325,000 full-time equivalent positions. Like most large employers, the State offers its employees a benefits package that includes a retirement plan, health care coverage, and a… Read More
    • State Revenue and Spending

      The state must generate revenue to pay for governmentprovided goods and services. The main sources of revenue for North Carolina’s government are the personal income tax and the sales tax, amounting to 87 percent of the state’s… Read More
    • State Spending Restraint

      North Carolina has a balanced budget amendment, but it was not intended to create a tax-and-spend state. Rather, it requires lawmakers to craft budgets that use tax dollars wisely. For several decades, North Carolina moved… Read More
    • Tax Reform

      For many years it has been recognized that North Carolina’s tax system has been in need of a major overhaul. The system has been a model of hodgepodge tax policy with high marginal rates on personal and corporate incomes and… Read More
  • Education

    • Charter Schools

      Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that have more freedom than district-run public schools but are required to meet certain state regulations. For example, charter schools must participate in the accountability program, the ABCs of Public Education. In 1996, the… Read More
    • Child Care

      The Subsidized Child Care Program provides vouchers to eligible families for child care services offered in any number of settings — licensed child care centers, family child care homes, religious-sponsored programs, and informal arrangements such as care by a relative… Read More
    • Childhood Health

      As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, the debate over the National School Lunch Program and the sale of junk food in and around public schools has intensified. While elected officials continue their well-intentioned efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, research… Read More
    • Class Size

      Support for reducing class size usually cuts across political and ideological divides, garnering accolades from legislators, policymakers, and parents alike. Nevertheless, the relationship between class size and student achievement has been the subject of scholarly debate for decades. While several… Read More
    • Common Core State Standards

      Common Core State Standards are mathematics and English Language Arts standards for students in kindergarten through twelfth-grade developed by three Washington, D.C.-based organizations — The National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc. The Seattle,… Read More
    • Curricula

      Curricula are not standards; standards are not curricula. In the debate over the Common Core State Standards, definitions of key terms, particularly “standards” and “curriculum,” vary considerably. For some, standards and curricula are one and the same. For others, standards… Read More
    • Education and the Workforce

      Do North Carolinians need four-year degrees to be successful? According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, those who decide to enter the workforce without a four-year degree may have more employment opportunities than those with one. BLS analysts… Read More
    • Education Spending

      In his book Education Myths, University of Arkansas professor Jay Greene points out that the inadequately funded school myth “is simultaneously the most widely held idea about education in America and the one that is most directly at odds with… Read More
    • Federal Education Policy

      Before passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, the United States Congress generally adhered to the principle that the federal government had no authority to undertake functions and duties not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Because… Read More
    • Higher Education Policy

      North Carolinians are proud of their higher education system — both the University of North Carolina, which has sixteen college campuses, and the 58-school community college system. But much of their reputation is based on a belief in quality that… Read More
  • Government Regulation

    • Alcoholic Beverage Control

      In 2009-10, a succession of scandals in North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system — including exorbitant salaries, nepotism, and lavish parties for ABC board members and staff hosted by liquor representatives — prompted then-Gov. Beverly Perdue to raise the… Read More
    • Occupational Licensing

      At its core, an occupational license is a government grant of permission — obtained at the expense of time and money — to an individual to enter the field of work he desires. North Carolina’s Constitution, Article I, Section 1,… Read More
    • Quick Take in Eminent Domain

      Under North Carolina Law, “quick take” refers to a legal process whereby the government can take title to property under the power of eminent domain without first allowing the landowner to have a hearing in court. The Fifth Amendment to… Read More
    • Regulatory Reform

      North Carolina’s regulatory environment has improved steadily in recent years. Under Republican leadership since 2011, the General Assembly has passed Regulatory Reform Acts in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Expect this annual effort to continue. While there are still plenty of… Read More
    • Renewable Energy

      In 2007, the North Carolina General Assembly passed far-reaching electricity regulations (typically referred to as Senate Bill 3). At the heart of this bill is a 12.5 percent “renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard.” The renewable portfolio standard requires… Read More
    • The Map Act

      The Map Act is a state law that allows road planners to establish official maps of future road corridors in order to freeze development within the maps, reducing property values, and thereby reducing the amount of just compensation that must… Read More
    • Treatment of Juvenile Criminals

      North Carolina is one of only two states in the nation that treats minors ages 16 and 17 as adults in the criminal justice system. Forty-eight states keep these minors in the juvenile justice system. Research suggests that raising the… Read More
  • Health Care

    • Certificate of Need Laws

      North Carolina’s Certificate of Need (CON) law was enacted in 1978 to comply with the federal Health Planning Resources Development Act of 1974. Based on the theory that the economics of health care is unusual and unlike any other market,… Read More
    • Health Insurance Exchanges

      Full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, relies largely on the states. Within the federal health law’s 2,700-plus pages, one key provision is the implementation of health insurance exchanges — online marketplaces where individuals can… Read More
    • Medicaid Expansion

      Obamacare is 2,000 pages of bad policy. It would be wise for North Carolina legislators to prevent further implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the law’s optional Medicaid expansion. Medicaid is a program jointly funded by… Read More
    • Medicaid Reform and ACOs

      In just one year, plans for North Carolina’s Medicaid reform have changed quite a bit. One year ago, Gov. Pat McCrory proposed a Medicaid reform that would have statewide managed care organizations (MCOs) compete to provide health care services to… Read More
    • Mental Health

      North Carolina’s management and delivery of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services (MH/SAS/DD) have undergone many changes since passage of the 2001 Mental Health System Reform Act. In December 2013, the McCrory administration announced that the state’s 10… Read More
  • North Carolina Info

    • Suggested Resources

      Budget, Taxation, and the Economy David Tuerck, Ryan Murphy, Paul Bachman, Peer Review of “The Economic, Utility Portfolio, and Rate Impact of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina,” the John Locke Foundation, Spotlight 283, April 2, 2013. Jon Sanders,… Read More

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Agenda 2016

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