JLF Research Archive
Showing items 101 to 125 of 536
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.
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.
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)
Medicaid is a national problem, not just a state problem. All states are faced with the same incentive to grow their Medicaid programs because of the federal match. Unsustainable Medicaid spending is exacerbating the debt crisis at the federal level. It is paramount that state policymakers put pressure on Washington to reform Medicaid and willingly trade the open-ended federal reimbursement of state spending for freedom from federal roadblocks to make common-sense reforms to their programs.
A high-speed rail proposal for North Carolina would create substantial risks for taxpayers, while doing little to nothing to reduce traffic, help the environment, cut energy use, or create jobs. North Carolina should return the federal high-speed rail grant funding, withdraw its pending application, and seek no more funding for passenger rail.
North Carolina’s auto insurance system is unfair to low-risk drivers because it overcharges them in order to subsidize some of the state’s more risky and dangerous drivers. Every insured driver pays a hidden tax, and private insurance companies are guaranteed a profit. This report recommends reforms to improve the system.
North Carolina has one of the most expensive Medicaid programs in the Southeast, and Obamacare will expand enrollment from 1.3 million people to potentially over 2 million people in 2014. Without Medicaid reform or tighter eligibility, North Carolina will need to cut some services and payments to doctors. Both options will mean worse care for every person on Medicaid. Gov. Bev Perdue and the General Assembly need to push Washington for exemptions from Medicaid restrictions and greater ability to innovate with premium support and encourage patient control of their own care.
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.
This budget proposal would spend $18.4 billion and return spending to the same levels, adjusted for population and inflation, as in the mid-1990s. In addition to ending the temporary sales tax and income tax surcharges, this budget would reduce the tax rates on personal and corporate income, setting the stage for future tax reform.
Over the last decade, North Carolina has led the way among southern states in advancing a more extreme environmentalist agenda. The General Assembly's new Republican majority should start anew on environmental issues. Legislators should put environmental policy into the context of the ideas of liberty, personal responsibility, and economic growth that the party ran on last fall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.