JLF Research Archive

Showing items 76 to 100 of 501

(2.14.11) Elective Surgery: Budget deficits require elected officials to reassess course offerings

North Carolina needs a thorough review of the number and types of courses offered in its public schools, especially during tight budget times. There is no evidence that school districts or the state has conducted an audit of the costs and outcomes or elective courses. A statewide curriculum audit would be a sound way to reduce costs and refocus our curriculum on the core skills that many of our public school students so desperately need.


(2.02.11) Just Not Worth the Gamble: The NC Education Lottery's many problems have a common solution

The North Carolina Education Lottery was sold as a way to boost education spending, but N.C. boasts the same problem found in other lottery states: a declining rate of spending for education, especially in comparison with the rest of the state budget. Furthermore, poverty, unemployment, and property tax rates remain the best predictors of lottery sales.


(1.27.11) Blocking Eminent Domain Abuse in NC: It’s past time for well-crafted constitutional amendment

There is optimism that an eminent domain amendment will pass this upcoming legislative session. This Spotlight explains how to craft the amendment carefully to best protect property owners.


(11.22.10) Second-Best Ozone Season in a Decade: NC’s 2010 ozone season comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb

In 2010, North Carolina recorded the second-lowest number of high-ozone days of the last decade. Statewide, a total of 106 high ozone monitor readings were recorded over 26 days from April 1 to October 31, with 32 of those readings occurring on just eight monitors in two metropolitan areas. Despite what might be the popular belief, smog levels in North Carolina have been getting better, not worse.


(11.12.10) The First 100 Days: Eleven Action Items for the 2011 Legislative Session

This report highlights eleven action items that North Carolina’s new General Assembly should seek to implement in the first 100 days of the 2011 legislative session. These items touch upon a cross section of public policy areas, including education, economic development, property rights, energy and the environment, health care, the budget, and transparency. We at the John Locke Foundation believe that these items represent straightforward actions that would greatly enhance the liberty and prosperity of North Carolina’s citizens.


(10.28.10) Demand Management: Social engineering by any other name ...

Over the past decade the “demand side management” (DSM) model of public policy has crept into the state of North Carolina’s approach to regulation. Advocates of DSM are clear in making explicit their goals of social engineering and the rearrangement of lifestyles. The language in their guiding documents are replete with references to “behavior modification” and “restraining and restricting” certain activities or lifestyle choices. DSM is inconsistent with a free society, where the role of government is to respond to constituent demands, not manage and control them.


(10.27.10) Perdue’s Regulatory Executive Order: A step in the right direction

North Carolina’s regulatory environment is poor, especially in comparison with other states’. Gov. Beverly Perdue signed a new executive order to modify the rulemaking process and help reduce the costs of regulation, which is a good start, but much will depend on how it is implemented in practice. For true regulatory reform, the legislature needs to build upon the executive order and apply reforms to all agencies.


(10.18.10) A Million Wasn’t Enough? Montgomery County commissioners want even more tax money

Montgomery county commissioners have raised the property tax by nine cents over the last two years, from 58 cents to 67 cents per $100 valuation — a 15.5 percent increase. Now the commissioners want $225,000 tax increase (an amount about the same as another one-cent increase in the property tax). If voters approve this tax increase, the total tax increase over the last three years would be $2.1 million.


(10.14.10) Speculators’ Tax in Alleghany? County commissioners seek tax grab based on guesses

Alleghany County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $160,000 tax increase at a time of high unemployment. That amount would be equal to a property tax increase of 0.9 cents per hundred dollars of value. County operating budget appropriations for fiscal year 2011 are $570,274 higher than in fiscal year 2009 – an amount 3.5 times as much as what the tax would generate.


(10.14.10) Tax First, Duck Questions Later: Highly secretive Clay County wants voters to approve a tax increase

Clay County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $200,000 tax increase at a time of high unemployment. That amount would be equal to a property tax increase of 1.4 cents per hundred dollars of value.


(10.13.10) A Taxing Legacy in Cherokee: County voters face vote on higher taxes proposed by rejected commissioners

Outgoing Cherokee County commissioners are asking voters to approve a $600,000 tax increase, an amount equivalent to a property tax increase of 1.5 cents per hundred dollars of value. County voters already rejected all three county commissioners who proposed the tax hike, but those lame-duck commissioners have since committed nearly $10 million to expand and renovate the courthouse.


(10.13.10) Get the Math Right: Columbus County leaders are wrong about proposed tax hike’s size, need

Columbus County commissioners are overselling the value of a proposed tax increase to voters by at least $300,000. County commissioners have repeatedly said the new quarter-cent sales tax increase would raise $1.0 million, but recent county estimates suggest the tax would bring in about $700,000. That would be equivalent to a 2.2-cent property tax rate increase.


(10.12.10) Strike Four? Despite three strikes on tax hikes, Harnett County officials try again

Harnett County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $1.2 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment. This amount is equal to a property tax increase of 1.8 cents per hundred dollars of value. This is the third time county officials have sought a higher sales tax and the fourth vote on higher taxes since 2007. Voters soundly rejected each of the earlier attempts.


(10.12.10) A Question of Trust: Alamance County commissioners don’t trust voters; can voters trust them?

Alamance County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $2.4 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment. This amount is equal to a property tax increase of 1.9 cents per hundred dollars of value. The three commissioners who supported the tax hike rejected a public hearing on the referendum.


(10.11.10) Tax Hike in Person Would Be Bad for Small Business: Three of Five Commissioners Agree

Person County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $675,000 tax increase at a time of high unemployment. This amount is equal to a property tax increase of 1.8 cents per hundred dollars of value. The commissioners voted 3-to-2 to put the tax increase to a vote of the people, but three commissioners expressed concerns that this tax increase would harm Person County small businesses during this weak economy.


(10.07.10) An Unnecessary Tax Hike: Bladen commissioners go back on their ‘No Tax Increase’ promise

Bladen county commissioners are asking voters to approve a $375,000 tax increase. Commissioners are asking for a tax increase while ignoring the county manager’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget that fulfills the commissioners’ “No Tax Increase” pledge. Bladen County schools have adequate funding from federal, state, and lottery sources; in fact, federal funds alone bring in three times the amount received from the tax increase.


(10.06.10) Third Time’s Not the Charm: Guilford County still needs better spending, not higher taxes

Guilford county commissioners are asking for an $11.6 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment. In 2008, they twice asked voters to pass a tax increase, but by large majorities, the voters turned them down. To illustrate the commissioner’s inability to manage spending and the debt, the county will exceed its debt guideline every year from 2012 to 2016.


(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.


(9.30.10) The Pill Police: North Carolina law enforcement has access to private health records

There has been significant public attention and concern regarding a proposal by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association that would allow sheriffs to have access to patients' prescription information for painkillers and controlled substances. The bigger issue is that the state already collects this information and law enforcement, specifically the State Bureau of Investigation, already has access to it. North Carolina should eliminate the database. The incredible intrusion into the lives of citizens greatly outweighs its limited, if any, benefit.


(9.16.10) Public Transit in North Carolina

North Carolina highway users are subsidizing other programs at the rate of slightly more than a penny per passenger mile. The total cost of driving in North Carolina is no more than 22 cents per passenger mile. By comparison, the state average cost of public transit is $1.15 per passenger mile, nearly $1 of which is subsidized by non-transit users. Driving is more energy efficient and produces less carbon emissions than almost any transit system in North Carolina.


(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.


(9.01.10) Costs of Nuclear vs. Solar: It's No Contest

A study by the North Carolina Waste Awareness Network (NC WARN), an anti–nuclear power advocacy group, argues that solar power today is less expensive than nuclear power. Media have embraced this study despite its absurd conclusion and its arbitrary use of subsidies in calculating the costs of competing energy sources.


(8.25.10) Deregulating Health Insurance and Health Providers in North Carolina

North Carolina policymakers should eliminate provider licensing, certificate-of-need laws, and mandated health insurance benefits. Short of this, the state can accept alternative forms of credentialing and ensure consumers have the right to purchase optional benefits at additional cost. These regulations limit access to health care providers and health insurance by artificially constraining markets.


(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.


(8.16.10) Good Classroom 'Disruption': Use the Internet to expand educational options in rural school districts

North Carolina has the infrastructure to expand online course offerings significantly. Districts that enroll few students in online courses generally have a higher per-pupil expenditure than those that enroll a higher number of virtual school students.This report offers several recommendations, including introduce virtual charter schools; expanding online course offerings from private and for-profit companies, community colleges, and universities; and developing off-site high school campuses.


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