JLF Research Archive

Showing items 101 to 125 of 507

(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.


(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.


(7.20.10) Budget Crisis Is Opportunity: Bigger budget for FY’11 shows need for policy reform

The final budget for fiscal year 2011 spends $20.56 billion, $153 million more than the budget for fiscal year 2010. General fund availability in fiscal year 2011 excluding federal funds is $17 million less than was available in fiscal year 2010. A $7 billion shortfall (accounting for federal bailout funds, temporary taxes, pensions and retiree health benefits, etc.) in a $20 billion General Fund requires fundamental reform of state government.


(7.12.10) Reforming the Sales Tax: Keep in mind liberty, prosperity, and sound principles of taxation

Over the past year the focus of North Carolina’s Joint Legislative Committee on Tax Reform has been almost exclusively on whether to expand North Carolina’s sales tax to include services. Following sound principles of tax reform, however, the focus should be on whether the tax base is what economists call neutral, and whether the tax conforms with the principles of justice, rooted in a respect for liberty and freedom of choice. At a combined average state and local rate of 7.98 percent, North Carolina’s sales tax rate is virtually tied with Tennessee’s rate of 8 percent as the highest in the Southeast.


(7.06.10) Survey of End-of-Course Test Questions: Many college and university faculty are concerned about the quality of state standardized tests

Between February and April 2010, the John Locke Foundation asked over 500 college and university faculty to evaluate selected test questions from North Carolina’s 2008-2009 end-of-course high school civics and economics and U.S. history tests. This study provides an overview of the responses from both the mailed and online surveys.


(6.10.10) Taking DNA from the Innocent: Bill would be a major step toward Big Brother government

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill (HB 1403) that would require law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from individuals arrested for certain felonies. Such a law would overturn the time-honored principle of innocent before proven guilty.


(6.01.10) Senate Budget Gimmicks: Fiscal irresponsibility tour moves to House

A bipartisan majority passed (30-16) a gimmick-laden budget that would increase spending by $100 million over the current budget plan and $900 million more than actual spending in fiscal year 2009. The budget relies on $3 billion in one-time fixes, including $1.6 billion in federal stimulus funds and more than $1.2 billion in temporary tax hikes.


(5.20.10) Charter School Diversity: Too black, too white, or just right?

A state law that mandates racial/ethnic balance for charter schools contradicts another law that requires charter schools to use an enrollment lottery when applicants outnumber available seats. It is impossible for charter schools to use random (lottery) and non-random (affirmative action) student selection mechanisms simultaneously.


(5.11.10) Let the Dogs In: Restaurant Owners, Not the State, Should Decide Whether to Allow Pets

On February 1, 2010, the North Carolina Commission for Public Health published a proposed rule addressing whether pets may be allowed in restaurants. Not unlike the smoking ban, whether pets are allowed in restaurants is a property rights issue.


(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.


(4.22.10) Politics vs. The Health Care Lawsuit: N.C. Attorney General's Decision Is Not Supported by a Proper Legal Analysis

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper decided not to join a lawsuit challenging whether the recently enacted federal health care bill is constitutional. The Attorney General's legal analysis used to justify not taking action avoided the primary legal questions regarding the law's constitutionality.


(4.16.10) The True Cost of State and Local Taxes: How to understand the business tax burden study

The Council on State Taxation (COST) estimate of tax burdens is widely misunderstood.
The COST study does not measure the cost of government or the competitiveness of North Carolina’s business tax climate.


(4.06.10) Distributing Transportation Funds: N.C. needs a better project selection system to make better use of scarce resources

North Carolina has the largest state-owned road system, but only the 9th largest road budget.
Since 2002, North Carolina’s interstates are smoother, roads are safer, and traffic congestion is improved.


(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.


(3.05.10) The Clean Smokestacks Bill: A Retrospective

In 2002 the State of North Carolina passed what was officially titled “Improve Air Quality/Electric Utilities,” which became better known as the Clean Smokestacks Bill (CSB). When the CSB was passed in 2002, it was estimated to cost $2.3 billion.


(2.23.10) Regulating the Regulators: Seven Reforms for Sensible Regulatory Policy in North Carolina

The excessive regulatory power allowed by North Carolina imposes great costs on its citizens and businesses and hurts the economic competitiveness of the state. This report identifies seven reforms that North Carolina should adopt to improve the regulatory environment in the state.


(2.03.10) Zero Tolerance for Charter Schools: The State Board of Education should regard all public schools as equals

Under the new “Revocation of Charter for Lack of Academic Performance” policy, only low-performing charter schools are subject to closure by the NC State Board of Education. There is no equivalent policy for district schools. This study asks the question: How many public schools would close if the state instituted the policy three years ago and applied to charter and district schools alike?


(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.


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