JLF Research Archive

Showing items 51 to 75 of 508

(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.


(10.04.11) The N.C. Supreme Court: A look at the inner workings

This Spotlight report provides useful information about the Court's work that is probably unfamiliar even to most attorneys in the state. It includes how often justices agree with each other and the reversal rate of Court of Appeals decisions.


(9.20.11) High School Graduation in NC: Quantity over quality?

Between 2006 and 2009, North Carolina’s graduation rate increased by 2.3 percent. At the same time, the community college remediation rate increased by 7 percent. Significant percentages of students enrolled in remedial courses suggest that the standards for high school graduation remain alarmingly low.


(9.14.11) A Blank Check for Buncombe: County commissioners ask voters for a sales-tax increase

Buncombe County commissioners seek voter approval of a sales-tax hike, promising that the $7 million that would be raised would be given to AB Tech for a new building and renovations,. The funds would go into the county’s general fund, however and could be spent on any legal purpose.


(7.06.11) Virtually Irrelevant: How certification rules impede the growth of virtual schools

Teacher-certification requirements are among the most onerous rules enforced by state education agencies and have the potential seriously to limit the scope, quality, and accessibility of virtual schooling for years to come.


(7.06.11) North Carolina's Forced-Sterilization Program: A Case for Compensating the Living Victims

When North Carolina lawmakers return to budget work next year, they should consider compensation for more than 2,900 living victims of the state's forced sterilization program.


(6.21.11) An overriding budget: FY 2011-13 budget review

The General Assembly's no-tax-hike budget sets North Carolina state government on a more sustainable course than the one Gov. Beverly Perdue and her allies supported. It avoids an $850 million tax increase Gov. Bev Perdue sought, which means $200 less in taxes per household. General Fund spending totals $19.5 billion, two percent less than Gov. Perdue's original, $19.9 billion proposal.


(6.02.11) No More Unaccountable Government: Legislators, not unelected bureaucrats, should make major policy decisions

State agencies should not be allowed to issue regulations that exceed federal requirements, and cost-benefit analysis should be required for all agencies. These two regulatory reforms should have a positive impact on the economy, but they are first and foremost about promoting good government.


(5.10.11) Taxers’ Choice in Cabarrus: If the sales-tax increase fails, county threatens to hike property taxes

Commissioners of debt-ridden Cabarrus County want taxpayers to bail them out by approving a quarter-cent sales tax increase on May 17. If the voters do not approve the tax increase, commissioners threaten to hit them with a 2.2-cent property tax increase.


(5.09.11) An Economic Analysis of State Tax Changes in North Carolina

The John Locke Foundation asked The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI) to use its North Carolina State Tax Analysis Modeling Program (NC-STAMP®) to analyze three state tax proposals. The tax changes would provide a powerful stimulus to the North Carolina economy. Employment would increase by 14,922 in 2012, and when fully implemented in 2013 would create 17,016 by leaving more money in the hands of the state’s households and businesses. The combination of individual income tax and sales tax changes would increase real disposable income by $1.1 billion in 2012 and $1.6 billion in 2013. (Revised May 10, 2011)


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