JLF Research Archive

Showing items 1 to 25 of 510

(8.20.14) State Budget Overview: Teacher compensation and Medicaid drive the 2014-15 budget

For fiscal year 2014-15, North Carolina’s General Fund budget rose 2.2 percent to $21.1 billion. It funded an average teacher salary increase of 7 percent, one of the largest pay raises for North Carolina teachers in a generation, and created a Medicaid contingency fund of $186.4 million.


(8.12.14) Facts on Fracking: Addressing concerns over hydraulic fracturing coming to North Carolina

Along with hopes for new jobs and a stronger economy, the prospect “fracking” in North Carolina has raised concerns. Some are legitimate questions informed by responsible skepticism, but others are fears fanned by activists and pressure groups. This paper seeks to address those questions and concerns.


(7.30.14) The Mechanics of Medicaid: How Medicaid’s flawed financial design drives program costs

Medicaid’s fundamental flaws stem from the way in which it is funded, as both state and federal government share the total bill. If Medicaid’s federal share was transferred to North Carolina as an annual block grant, it would allow lawmakers to exercise more control over the program and create a stronger incentive to sort out system waste and abuse.


(7.10.14) North Carolina’s E-Cigarette Tax: Where bad tax policy meets special interest politics

North Carolina passed a law during the 2014 legislative session taxing the liquid used in electronic cigarettes at an additional 5 cents per milliliter. This tax will hurt small businesses and violates the most important principle of good tax policy—neutrality. The North Carolina General Assembly should repeal the electronic cigarette tax.


(6.23.14) By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2012

The economic recession that hit full force in 2008 was declared officially over in June 2009 when the country experienced two quarters of very slow growth. But a troubled housing sector and a still-sluggish economy with high unemployment have contributed to the fiscal crises facing many cities and counties in North Carolina. As always, this edition of By the Numbers is must reading for government officials and taxpayers alike. It highlights what kinds of fiscal problems face local governments in an economy that grows only very slowly. With the facts given here, county commissioners and city council members can easily compare their area’s tax burden to similarly situated cities or counties. For taxpayers, BTN is a starting point for questions about taxes and spending, enabling them to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable.


(6.18.14) The Best of Both Budgets: “Reverse logrolling” would help legislators produce a sound spending plan

Reverse logrolling applied to the current state budget would result in a General Fund budget of $20.6 billion and a $667 million surplus, which would allow legislators more flexibility when discussing spending priorities, including teacher pay increases. It would also allow enough to be set aside in savings and reserves to avoid any unforeseen shortfalls in the next fiscal year.


(6.02.14) Agenda 2014: A Candidate's Guide to Key Issues in North Carolina Public Policy

Every two years since 1996, coinciding with North Carolina's races for the General Assembly, the John Locke Foundation has published a revised edition of Agenda, our public policy guide for candidates and voters. Typically as we enter the campaign season, candidates for public office in North Carolina are faced with a daunting task: to develop informed positions on dozens of public policy issues. In the pages of Agenda 2014 we provide a concise and easily digestible guide covering a wide range of specific issues, from taxes and spending to energy policy and education.


(5.20.14) Educational Freedom Works: Scholarly research shows gains from school choice and competition

This study synthesizes findings from 888 articles published since 1990. Based on these, we can say that in recent years North Carolina has been moving in the right direction on school reform. Policymakers should continue the momentum and resist attempts to backtrack.


(4.28.14) An Occupancy Tax Increase? Haywood County already has a million dollars annually from existing tax

Officials from Haywood County have proposed an increase in the county’s occupancy tax by 50 percent, which would disadvantage Haywood compared to surrounding counties with lower rates. Taxation is justified only for necessary purposes of government. Tourism promotion is not such a function and can best be served by the private sector.


(4.15.14) Lower Taxes, Higher Growth: Scholarly Research Reveals Economic Benefits of Fiscal Restraint

Most studies find that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation, and lower energy prices correlate with stronger economic performance. The implications of this research track well with recent public policies adopted in North Carolina. Judging from the available empirical evidence, North Carolina’s new policy mix is likely to result in stronger economic growth in the coming years.


(3.06.14) Wrong Way: How the Map Act threatens NC property owners

The North Carolina Map Act virtually freezes property development within proposed road corridors and can encumber and devalue property indefinitely. North Carolina should protect the constitutional property rights of its citizens by repealing or reforming the Map Act.


(2.19.14) Common Core State Standards: The way forward

The NC General Assembly should create two permanent commissions charged with raising the quality and rigor of state standards, curricula, and assessments. Each commission should employ a large and diverse group of stakeholders and should modify or replace the Common Core State Standards, specify content that aligns with the standards, recommend a testing program, and provide ongoing review.


(2.05.14) City and County Issue Guide 2014

Policymakers in the many local governments of North Carolina face a host of important challenges. This issue guide offers solutions to problems that confront North Carolinians at municipal and county levels. The common thread in these recommendations is freedom. By increasing individual freedom, local governments can foster the prosperity of all North Carolinians and keep open avenues to innovative solutions from enterprising citizens.


(1.16.14) Tax Cuts for All: Tax Reform Means Savings to All NC Income Groups

The average North Carolina household in every income category received a tax cut from the 2013 tax reform. Considering both 2011 and 2013 tax changes, the average household in both the lowest and highest income categories is receiving a tax cut of about 1 percent of income.


(11.25.13) Redistribution of Health: Severe Side Effects of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Exchanges

Despite it's promises, the federal health care law will bring premium increases to many due to community rating provisions, increased regulation and mandates, and problems with premium and cost-sharing subsidies.


(11.06.13) Trends in North Carolina State Spending: Total state spending has grown after both inflation and per capita adjustments

Regardless of how it is measured, state spending is increasing. North Carolina’s total state budget peaked in 2012, reaching more than $51 billion or $5,348 per capita, with federal spending totaling 45 percent of total expenditures.


(10.28.13) Energy Subsidies: How comparisons should be calculated but aren't

Over the last several years there have been a great many claims about energy subsidies for both renewables and traditional sources like coal and oil. The analysis hasn't, but should, focus on net subsidies, which includes both subsidies and penalties. The important question is - how are coercive policies distorting supply and demand relative to a free market?


(10.24.13) Certified: The Need to Repeal CON; Counter to their intent, Certificate of Need laws raise health care costs

Four decades’ worth of data and research into CON laws have shown that they fail to lower health care costs; if anything, they raise them. Despite this, North Carolina hosts one of the most restrictive CON programs in the country. State leaders could best prevent unnecessary increases in health care costs by repealing CON.


(10.22.13) CCNC Flaws: Why Community Care of North Carolina is Failing Patients, Taxpayers, and Policymakers

The debate over NC’s Medicaid program pits defenders of the status-quo Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) model against reformers touting Governor McCrory’s proposed Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina. This report identifies and explains CCNC’s flaws and shows how the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina is a far more effective approach to not only improve patient health, but also rein in Medicaid spending and save taxpayer dollars.


(9.24.13) Tax Reform 2013: Setting the Stage for Economic Growth

In 2013, North Carolina implemented fundamental tax reform, with changes to personal and corporate income taxes and sales tax. The plan cuts taxes by about $4.75 billion over five years, assuming the state meets certain revenue triggers and implements the plan fully. The importance of reducing tax revenues is that it transfers resources from political to private sector control, enhancing the overall efficiency of how these resources are used.


(9.17.13) 60 Questions About Common Core: Answers for North Carolinians

This updated primer serves to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Common Core State Standards and tests. North Carolina taxpayers should use it as a first step in assessing the massive changes underway in our public schools.


(7.24.13) Budget Basics: Sustaining the present, preserving the future

General Fund spending totals $20.6 billion for fiscal year 2013-14, only a 2.5 percent increase from the previous year, with Medicaid accounting for the largest increase in spending and tax reform saving taxpayers more than half-a-billion dollars over the two years.


(7.17.13) Improving Juvenile Justice: Finding More Effective Options for North Carolina’s Young Offenders

Methods to improve the juvenile justice system in North Carolina include adjusting the age of juvenile court jurisdiction and creating a system of blended sentencing. Adult court jurisdiction results in poor rehabilitation of juveniles and higher victimization rates amongst minors. Any apparent savings from keeping 16-17 year olds in the adult system are are ultimately overwhelmed by the costs associated with higher rates of recidivism and revocations.


(7.10.13) Lessons Learned: How the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina Avoids Kentucky’s Medicaid Reform Mistakes

Gov McCrory’s Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina is an innovative approach to redesign the state’s Old Medicaid system. This report explains the strategies and provisions included in the Partnership that help to ensure North Carolina’s Medicaid reform does not replicate Kentucky’s failings.


(6.20.13) Three Truths of Tax Reform: Senate, House plans would spur growth, create jobs

The House and Senate tax bills now under discussion in the General Assembly would constitute fundamental tax reform, but will not prevent state government from funding core public services such as public schools and universities. They will, however, increase job creation and economic growth.


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