JLF Research Archive

Showing items 276 to 300 of 507

(6.06.07) New Global Warming Taxes? Disguised Taxes Would Be All Cost, No Possible Benefit for North Carolinians

There are three new proposals that would impose hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes on North Carolinians in the name of fighting global warming. None of these proposals are actually called taxes.


(5.31.07) Raise the Bar, Not the Age: Why raising the compulsory school age won’t reduce dropouts

North Carolina is among the 26 states that have a maximum compulsory age of 16. Among the 50 states and D.C., there is no consistent relationship between the maximum compulsory age and graduation and dropout rates.


(5.15.07) Spend Now, Tax Now & Later: House budget would spend 7.6 percent more in FY2007-08

House members approved a $20.3 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2007-08, up 7.6 percent from FY 2006-07; 1.5 times the 5.1 percent combined rate of inflation and population growth.
Proposed spending is $1.4 billion ($158 per person or $632 for a family of four) higher than in FY 2006-07. Nearly all of the increase is in K-12 education, even though dropout rates have been increasing.


(5.07.07) Burlington’s Loss Factory: The city government has no business being in the golf business

Over the past four years, Burlington’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of nearly $700,000. The city unfairly competes with 14 private courses in the area.


(5.03.07) Eminent Domain in N.C.: The Case for Real Reform

Eminent domain refers to the government’s power to seize private property without the consent of owners. In 2005, the United States Supreme Court, in the now infamous case of Kelo v. City of New London, held that the government could seize private property solely for economic development reasons. This policy report explains why North Carolina Needs a Constitutional Amendment to prevent such takings.


(5.02.07) Why Charter Schools Are Good for North Carolina

For many years, charter-school research has almost exclusively focused on the issue of academic performance. While this issue deserves attention, research indicates that parents choose charter schools based, not on one factor, but on a number of factors related to the schools' social and academic environments.


(4.24.07) Wilson Loses on Links: The city government has no business being in the golf business

Over the past five years, Wilson’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of over $1 million. The city unfairly competes with eight private courses in the area.


(4.24.07) Freedom Budget 2007

Freedom Budget 2007 continues the tradition of John Locke Foundation alternative budgets that revise the governor’s Continuation and Expansion budgets.


(4.23.07) Happy Earth Day: North Carolina’s Air is Worth Celebrating

North Carolina’s air quality is worth celebrating. Despite scare tactics from environmental advocates, N.C.’s air is cleaner than ever and only getting better. The EPA monitors six common air pollutants. It is clear that across the board, N.C.’s air is doing extremely well in relation to all of these pollutants.


(3.21.07) Eastern NC’s Lottery Bug: Counties with higher taxes and unemployment play more

Property tax rates, unemployment, and poverty rates are the best guides to a county’s lottery sales per adult. Neither personal nor household income was associated with a county’s level of lottery sales per adult.


(3.19.07) Traffic Congestion in North Carolina: Status, Prospects, & Solutions

Traffic congestion is defined as the delay in urban travel caused by the presence of other vehicles. This study reviews traffic congestion in each of North Carolina's 17 metropolitan regions. The study determines the magnitude of present and future traffic congestion; the extent to which present plans will relieve or merely slow the growth of congestion; how traffic congestion affects the state's economy; and actions for significantly reducing congestion in the future.


(3.15.07) Charlotte’s Transit Tax: A costly distraction from the city’s true transit needs

Charlotte’s half-cent sales tax for transit, passed in 1998, has allowed the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) to become one of the least efficient bus systems in the state. Ridership increased 52 percent, but operating costs increased 234 percent from 1997 to 2005.


(3.12.07) Lexington Links’ Losses: The city government has no business being in the golf business

Over the past seven years, Lexington’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of over $1.3 million. The city unfairly competes with 18 private courses in the area.


(3.09.07) $20 Billion: Gov. Easley increases operating budget 7.2 percent for FY2007-08

Gov. Mike Easley proposed a $20 billion operating budget and $20.1 billion total spending plan for fiscal year (FY) 2007-08. The operating budget is $1.3 billion more than in FY 2006-07, a 7.2 percent increase.


(3.06.07) Consumer Protection Blackout: Why the Public Staff Should Be Reformed

The Public Staff is an independent government agency whose role is to represent the interests of electricity consumers before the Utilities Commission. However, as recent examples demonstrate, the Public Staff is acting more like an environmental advocate than a consumer advocate. The Public Staff has recommended a major new tax on consumers, possibly as large as $181 million annually. The Public Staff also has expressed support for wind power plants even though it would mean higher costs and an unreliable means of electricity for consumers. The agency needs major reforms so consumer interests are truly protected, including term limits on the executive director of the Public Staff.


(2.28.07) A Better Bargain: Meeting North Carolina’s needs without a $1 billion tax hike

Budgets reflect priorities. When families face a new expense, they must cut back on another expense. Governments do not have this limitation. When legislators find they have spent too much or that there are new activities worth funding, they can raise taxes to make sure the budget balances and pass along the tough decisions to businesses, entrepreneurs, and families.


(2.27.07) State Board of Repetition: State Board of Repetition

North Carolina’s public schools students are falling behind, and the State Board of Education is to blame. As Governor Easley prepares to fill two vacancies on the board, it is time to appoint members who can bring fresh approaches and new ideas, not more groupthink, to the body that controls our beleaguered public school system.


(2.27.07) Buildings Don’t Teach Students: North Carolina should concentrate on what goes on inside the buildings

Unfortunately for North Carolina’s students, most of the adult debate over schools has focused on where to find the money to build the schools to accommodate its rapidly growing student population. Last year several NC counties passed bonded indebtedness of nearly $1.5 billion and presently counties and the state are discussing more bonds totaling an additional $3.6 billion.


(2.20.07) It's Not Just a Good Idea, It’s the Law: Climate Commission Ignores Legislative Mandates

Any recommendations made by North Carolina’s Global Climate Commission this spring will lack much of the underlying analysis required by the Commission’s enabling legislation. Senate Bill 1134, which established the Commission in 2005, was explicit. It stated that the Commission “shall conduct an in depth examination” of a list of important scientific and economic issues. After over a year of meetings the Commission has ignored what any reasonable observer would conclude are the most important questions.


(2.19.07) Bad Credit: State Earned Income Tax Credit would do little good at great cost

The Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has helped single mothers escape poverty, but it has penalized married parents and is plagued by misunderstanding and fraud. A state EITC at five percent of the federal level would cost $66 million with the same problems but less impact. State tax credits should address problems in the federal tax code, such as the penalty against middle class parents who do not qualify for means-tested programs or against individuals who do not purchase health insurance through their employer. The state child tax credit addresses the former and a health insurance purchase tax credit would address the latter problem.


(2.14.07) Learning About Teacher Pay: N.C. teachers are favorably compensated; what they need is merit pay

Adjusted for cost of living, pension contribution, and teacher experience, the state’s average teacher salary is $993 higher than the U.S. adjusted median salary and $2,733 higher than the U.S. adjusted average salary. There is little evidence that a higher average salary or better benefits will, in any significant way, improve recruitment and increase retention of teachers. A system of merit-based pay would provide an incentive for highly qualified individuals to enter and stay in the teaching profession.


(1.29.07) By The Numbers 2007: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions in revenue. Their roles grow ever greater as state government shifts more taxing power to localities to make up for money kept by the state. Still, finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides information of how much local government costs in every city and county in NC.


(1.22.07) Wrong Way for a Greenway: Asheboro would place nearly 30 miles of a greenway through citizens’ backyards

Wrong Way for a Greenway: Asheboro would place nearly 30 miles of a greenway through citizens’ backyards


(1.22.07) Johnston County's 'Dumb Growth' Plan: The Growth Management Committee Fails to Understand Basic Economics

The Johnston County Growth Management Committee (GMC) believes that rapid growth has outstripped the county’s ability to keep up with essential public services. To solve this problem, the GMC is recommending "smart growth" policies. The GMC is urging the County Commission to limit home building in rural areas to one home to an average of two acres. This is a 203 percent increase in the average lot size.


(1.11.07) Thomasville Tees Off: The city government has no business being in the golf business

Over the past six years, Thomasville’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of over $3.6 million. With its course, the city engages in unfair competition with 18 private courses in the area. Private golf courses pay taxes that support government services; the city golf course does not. Unlike police and fire protection, golf is not an essential city service. If the course were sold, city taxpayers would gain the amount of the sale and avoid paying its average annual losses of over $600,000 per year. Also, a privately owned golf course would contribute to the tax base of the city and county.


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