JLF Research Archive

Showing items 51 to 75 of 517

(9.26.12) High Tide for Hype on the OBX: Apocalyptic predictions miss the mark on North Carolina sea levels

The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission’s (CRC) forecast of sea level rise from climate change is far greater than the consensus estimate of the United Nations, and Atlantic hurricane activity exhibits no systematic changes in the last hundred years. It is therefore unlikely that catastrophic climate change outcomes await residents of the Outer Banks over the next hundred years.


(9.12.12) Flex Growth: A smarter option for North Carolina communities

In recent years, an increasing number of local governments across the nation and across North Carolina have adopted “Smart Growth” policies. However, North Carolina should look to the future and adopt a flexible growth agenda — Flex Growth. Flex Growth is a market-based system of principles for government land use and development policy, especially at the state and local government levels, based upon the idea that people — and not government bureaucrats and planners — know what is best for themselves.


(8.27.12) The Amazon Tax That Was Not: North Carolina’s Attempt to Expand Sales Taxation Beyond Its Borders

North Carolina has an Amazon tax, which categorizes out-of-state firms as in-state, and thereby liable for sales tax, under certain conditions. However, the tax has not proved effective at increasing revenues, it does not level the playing field, and it may drive firms out of the state.


(7.18.12) N.C.'s Film Tax Incentives: Good Old-Fashioned Corporate Welfare

Once a popular off-Hollywood venue for filmmakers before state film tax incentives, North Carolina is now one of the leaders in a race to the bottom among other states and nations in giveaways to movie production companies. The incentives show that state leaders know that lower taxes and regulations attract industry. So why play favorites with industries? Why not just lower taxes and regulations altogether?


(7.18.12) Carolina Cronyism: Introduction, Overview, and Reforms

Cronyism is an umbrella term covering a host of government activities by which an industry or even a single firm or speculator is given favors and support that they could not attain in market competition. This report explains what opens government to cronyism, gives a brief rundown of recent examples of cronyism in North Carolina, and offers several possible reforms.


(7.10.12) Educational Market Share: Despite the growth of school choice, public schools dominate

Private, charter, and home schools continue to be popular in many states, including North Carolina. This popularity, however, has not produced a significant enrollment shift from district schools to schools of choice – private, charter, or home schools. North Carolina and nine other states had a net increase in the percentage of students attending a school of choice between 2001 and 2010, but statewide market share increases were trivial. School choice reformers must continue their praiseworthy efforts to expand educational options for families. They must also recognize that the traditional public school system will remain the primary provider of schooling for most families.


(6.28.12) One Way Street for Spending Adjustments: Reverse Logrolling Offers an Alternative

The General Fund portion of North Carolina’s $51.7 billion state budget for 2013 is now $20.18 billion, which exceeds planned spending as passed in 2011. All of this year’s General Fund proposals from the House, Senate, and governor have been for more spending than planned. By taking the lower cost of each General Fund component from the House and Senate proposals — “reverse logrolling” — with a couple of exceptions, one could achieve a General Fund total of $19.85 billion. That would save $330 million from the enacted General Fund and $87 million from last year’s plan.


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

North Carolina is one of only two states which automatically send all 16 and 17 year-olds to the adult justice system. Adult court jurisdiction of juveniles does not deter juvenile crime and results in poor rehabilitation of juveniles. Minors in criminal justice systems have less access to education and other age-specific programming than those in the juvenile justice system, putting them at a serious disadvantage upon release. Methods to improve the juvenile justice system in North Carolina include both adjusting the age of juvenile court jurisdiction and creating a system of blended sentencing.


(5.09.12) Review of the Triangle Transit Authority’s Response to Questions Regarding Costs and Ridership

Based on our review of the TTA Response, we continue to have major reservations concerning the feasibility of the Wake County Transit Plan. The TTA Response does not adequately respond to our questions concerning ridership or costs. It does not deal with the inconsistencies in ridership estimated implied in the Plan versus those in the earlier documents and, in fact, introduces new ones. The ridership estimates provided in the TTA Response are several times higher than those implied in the Plan, and the costs per rider are much lower than those implied in the Plan. Further, the Response does not respond to our concerns expressed in the John Locke Foundation’s earlier Review regarding other serious issues. Therefore the TTA Response is deemed inadequate, and our fundamental concerns regarding the costs and benefits of this Plan remain unaddressed.


(5.08.12) 2012 State Spending at a Record High: Albeit Concealed, State Spending Has Grown For Decades

Total state spending per capita is at its highest level ever in the 2012 fiscal year and has more than tripled since 1970. Over the past four decades, state spending has grown much faster than personal income, and in real, per capita terms, spending on all reported categories has more than doubled since the mid-1970s. That includes education, corrections, health and human services, transportation, and debt servicing. General fund spending per capita has declined by 16 percent since 2009, but per capita spending outside of the general fund increased by 26 percent and more than compensated for the general fund’s decline. Federal aid continues to comprise an ever-larger portion of the state budget, and North Carolina’s cash-basis accounting conceals spending and is generating unfunded liabilities


(5.02.12) Catch Shares: A Potential Tool to Undo a Tragedy of the Commons in NC Fisheries

Declining fish stocks are affecting N.C. fishermen and fishing communities despite the U.S. government spending $70 million a year to bail out failing federally managed fisheries under traditional management systems. Catch shares are a transformative approach to fisheries management that inject property rights into the fisheries to produce a sea change in incentives. Catch shares eliminate race to fish, encourage a more discriminating harvest, and reduce bycatch. Research finds strong links between catch shares and improved economic and biological performance of fisheries and that switching fisheries to catch share systems not only slows their decline but possibly stops (or even reverses) it.


(4.03.12) The Consumed Income Tax: Efficient and Fair Tax Reform for North Carolina

North Carolina’s state income tax penalizes people’s income generating activities, those that lead to the production of goods and services and spur economic growth. By reducing the rewards to all income-generating activity — work, saving, and investment — the income tax discourages those activities relative to non-income generating activities — leisure and consumption. The tax that should be adopted as a replacement for the existing income tax is what is called a “flat rate consumed income tax.”


(2.28.12) By the Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2010

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue, but 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.


(2.16.12) Wake County Sustainability Task Force Report: An Alternate Opinion

This Regional Brief critiques the process used by the Wake County Sustainability Task Force and its final report. The author was a member of the task force.


(2.13.12) Raleigh Convention Center: Throwing good money after bad

This report examines 52 contracts signed by the Raleigh Convention Center for the period of July–December 2011 and is a follow-up to the September 2008 John Locke Foundation report “The New Raleigh Convention Center: A taxpayer-funded money pit.”


(1.31.12) North Carolina vs. the World: Comparisons of educational inputs and outcomes

This study employs multiple studies and data sources to fill the gaps left by the state’s unacceptable omission of international inputs and outcomes. Overall, the evidence suggests that, despite ample resources, public school students in North Carolina fail to meet or exceed the performance of many of our economic competitors throughout the world. Simply put, the state has failed to "produce globally competitive students," and that failure is a cause for serious concern.


(1.31.12) Review of the Wake County Transit Plan

The draft Wake County Transit Plan, released in November 2011, proposes a doubling of bus service, new commuter rail service between East Garner and Durham, and light rail service between Cary and northeast Raleigh. The expanded service is proposed to be funded by a 1⁄2-cent sales tax, a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees, increased vehicle rental fees, transit bonds, state and federal funds, and rider fares. The estimated cost of the expanded bus and commuter rail plan is $2.8 B, and the full plan (including light rail) $4.6 billion through 2040.


(1.13.12) First, Stop the Bleeding: Getting North Carolina Out of Its Unemployment Insurance Crisis

North Carolina’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) administrators have vastly outspent revenues and generated a debt of $2.6 billion with the federal government—the third-highest in the nation, on a per-capita basis. This report proposes five ways for legislators to address this rapidly growing problem.


(1.05.12) Compensating NC’s Eugenics Victims: Five Ways North Carolina Can Help Right the Wrong

North Carolina forcibly sterilized approximately 7,600 individuals in the 20th Century as part of its eugenics program. Many eugenics victims are still alive in North Carolina. This report offers five ways that North Carolina should compensate the victims before it is too late.


(11.10.11) First Annual North Carolina County Privatization Survey

County governments all over North Carolina are saving money by privatizing services. In an effort to assist in the exchange of information about these activities, the John Locke Foundation conducted a survey of all 100 counties asking county managers to tell us about governmental activities that they currently supply privately. We also asked them if they had problems in the past with a privatized activity that had caused them to return the activity to government provision.


(11.08.11) The Corporate Income Tax: Repeal, Not Reform

North Carolina's corporate income tax should be repealed, not reformed. It violates all basic principles of sound economic policy and open government. It not only imposes a second and even a third layer taxation on many people’s incomes, but it is hidden, dishonest, and inconsistent with informed decision making in a free and democratic society.


(11.01.11) A Quarter-Million More for Montgomery? Secretive county seeks a third tax increase in three years

Montgomery County commissioners have raised the property tax by nine cents over the last three years, from 58 cents to 67 cents per $100 valuation — a 15.5 percent increase. Now the commissioners want voters to approve a quarter-cent sales-tax increase worth an estimated $250,000.


(10.19.11) Durham’s Tale of Two Tax Increases: County seeks $26.5 million’s worth of sales-tax hikes for schools and transit

Durham County commissioners are asking voters to approve two sales-tax increases on November 8. The requested increases would amount to $26.5 million per year in new tax revenues. This request comes amid news that state unemployment has been above 9 percent since January 2009 and is currently 10.4 percent.


(10.13.11) Energy Efficiency, Economic Efficiency and The Pretense of Knowledge

Energy efficiency programs focus on the relationship between one input into the production process, energy, relative to the output generated by that process. This simplistic view makes no consideration for the strong possibility that other inputs -- labor, plastic, steal, copper, glass, etc. -- might actually increase. Economic efficiency, on the other hand, relates total costs to the value of the output that those costs generate.


(10.12.11) Orange Crush Revisited: County commissioners ask voters a third time for a tax increase

Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.5 million sales-tax increase at a time of high unemployment. Twice before Orange County voters rejected tax increases. Just last November, rural county voters rejected a sales-tax increase by 2 to 1. The ballot offers nothing else for rural voters this time around, while urban voters also must pick candidates for city offices. Commissioners' hopes for a tax increase may hinge on low rural turnout.


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