JLF Research Archive

Showing items 101 to 125 of 519

(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.


(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.


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