JLF Research Archive
Showing items 276 to 300 of 511
North Carolina faces estimates of nearly $10 billion in school facilities needs over the next five years. Since 2000, school choice saved taxpayers over $20 million a year in annual capital expenses. Over the last six years, the yearly capital savings totaled nearly $125 million.
The Senate has passed a major electricity bill that includes something called a renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard (REPS). The REPS consists of two separate requirements: A renewable portfolio standard that requires utilities to provide customers 7.5 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and energy efficiency measures that require a 5 percent reduction in energy use.
The Senate fiscal year 2007-08 budget would have spent $1.3 billion (7.1 percent) more on operations than the previous year, plus another $1.2 billion in new debt.
The Senate would have allowed the 8.0 percent personal income tax bracket and the extra quarter-cent sales tax to expire as current law requires.
Municipalities legally can acquire unincorporated areas next to their borders without the consent of the residents living in those areas. This process, called forced annexation, was supposed to promote sound urban development in areas that need municipal services. Instead, it has created a system in which cities ignore the areas most in need of annexation. Even worse, forced annexation is undemocratic and has contributed to the exclusion of minorities from municipalities. Forced annexation needs to be eliminated immediately, and significant annexation reform needs to be adopted.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Freedom Budget 2007 continues the tradition of John Locke Foundation alternative budgets that revise the governor’s Continuation and Expansion budgets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.