JLF Research Archive

City & County Government

Showing items 26 to 50 of 63

(10.05.10) Orange Crush: Tax hike would crush taxpayers and county economy

Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.3 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment. Since the special county taxing authority was established by the legislature in 2007, voters have turned down 68 of 85 requests for tax increases, sending the message that county commissioners must be more responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.


(9.07.10) Lotteries and Economic Incentives: Governments need better tools to evaluate tax breaks

Business incentives are like lottery tickets, providing big rewards for governments if you don’t count the costs. Iredell County modeled the financial costs and benefits of an incentive offered in 2009 and showed a positive net present value for the incentives, but neglected to factor in the opportunity cost of forgoing the next best use for the funds and the likelihood the investment would have happened without an incentive.


(8.18.10) Boone-Doggle: Watauga County’s proposed $1.9 million tax increase

Watauga County commissioners want voters to approve a $1.9 million sales tax increase to build new recreational facilities. If past is prologue, this new money will not be spent wisely. Watauga County commissioners recently approved the most expensive high school ever built in the state, and they did so without a vote of taxpayers.


(7.28.10) Robeson County’s Vote to Increase the Sales Tax: Would you buy a used car from these guys?

Robeson County officials want a quarter-cent sales tax hike and promise a two-cent reduction in the property tax rate. The net effect would be like a two-cent property tax hike, since the sales tax increases would bring in an additional $2.3 million a year, while the reduction in property tax revenues would be only $1.2 million. Robeson County taxpayers have already been hit with a two-cent tax increase with revaluation, so a vote to approve the sales-tax hike would mean a $2.3 million tax increase from last year.


(4.30.10) Budgets Are Not Unicorns: Gov. Perdue uses gimmicks instead of making choices

Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2011 is another missed opportunity to improve state government finances and operations. It includes $578 million in new federal stimulus money that does not cut total spending.


(3.29.10) By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2008

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue. Their roles grow as state government keeps more local funding sources and shifts more taxing power to localities. Still, finding comparative data is difficult. This report helps address that problem by providing information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.


(3.19.10) Meaningful Annexation Reform: Getting through the smoke and mirrors

The House passed an annexation bill (HB 524) that not only fails to provide real reform, but also makes forced annexation an even greater problem for the 4.1 million North Carolina citizens living in unincorporated areas. Under forced annexation, municipalities may unilaterally force individuals to live in municipalities.


(3.15.10) A Planners' Glossary: Understanding Raleigh's New Development Code, the Diagnostics & Approach Report

This glossary defines and explains terms used in the consultant's report, "Diagnostic & Approach Report" (DAR), which contains recommendations for implementing Raleigh's newly approved 2030 Comprehensive Plan.


(12.17.09) Trust But Verify: Open government is better government

Governments have been seeking ways to adopt or advertise their efforts at open government, sunshine, and transparency. Recent history is rife, however, with examples of how they have failed - such as Gov. Mike Easley's financial dealings and the hole in the state health plan.


(12.17.09) Why Transparency? Creating trust in government

Open government is just as important in a modern republic as it was two centuries ago. Larger bureaucratic states threatened to overwhelm the ability of citizens and their representatives to keep track of government.


(8.10.09) Crucial Questions: A Checklist for City Council Candidates and Citizens

City council members hold the reins of the first level of government that affects most North Carolinians. With a proper perspective on the uses and limits of government, these leaders can foster prosperity in their communities through free individuals pursuing their own dreams without fear of the city arbitrarily curtailing their activities or usurping their property or wealth.


(5.07.09) Salisbury’s Fiber-Optic Cable System: Another corporate welfare project paid for by average taxpayers

The City of Salisbury recently decided to build a $30 million fiber-optic cable system that will offer Internet, phone, and television service to Salisbury residents and businesses. The city is paying for this system with 20-year bonds.If the system cannot attract enough subscribers, city officials have stated that they will use an increase in property taxes of 9.5 cents per $100 valuation to fund the project.


(4.08.09) City and County Issue Guide 2009

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.


(3.04.09) City and County Budget Crises: When in a hole, first stop digging

This report documents the change in locally generated revenues of 98 North Carolina counties* and the 30 largest N.C. cities between 2002 and 2007. Locally generated revenues increased faster than population and inflation in 96 of 98 counties and 24 of 30 cities. In Union County, revenue increased 48 percent faster than population and inflation over five years. For that reason, many counties and cities are having financial difficulties because they have spent taxpayer revenues on unnecessary or low-priority projects.


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

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue. Their roles grow as state government keeps more local funding sources and shifts more taxing power to localities. Still, finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides information about how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.


(1.06.09) Wilson’s Fiber-Optic Cable Boondoggle: City Invests $28 Million in a Technology That Could Be Obsolete Before It’s Paid For

The City of Wilson’s $28 million investment in a fiber-optic cable system for Internet, phone and television could be obsolete even before it is paid for, leaving city taxpayers and electric utility users to pay the balance on the 25-year bonds.


(5.14.08) Fiscal Transparency in N.C.: Surveying state and local governments

Citizens don’t have the ability to easily track how state and local governments spend their tax dollars — but they should. Budget information isn’t available online in easily searchable databases, but it should be. Citizens shouldn’t have to make special requests to obtain budget information.


(4.30.08) Un-Affordable Housing: Cities keep low- and middle-income families from home ownership

Many North Carolina cities use affordable-housing policies to provide housing to low-income citizens. No doubt started with the best intentions, those policies ignore fundamental economic realities and produce the opposite effect than was intended.


(1.29.08) By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2006

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars 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 North Carolina.


(9.20.07) Goldsboro in the Rough: The city government has no business being in the golf business

Over the past six years, Goldsboro’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of over $2.5 million. The city unfairly competes with seven private courses in the area.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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) 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.


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