JLF Research Archive

Showing items 151 to 175 of 526

(8.24.09) Wind Power and the Ridge Law: N.C. Legislature Should Stop Providing Special Treatment for Wind Power

Wind power advocates are pushing for commercial wind turbines along the mountain ridgelines - the mountains and the coast are the only locations where wind is viable in North Carolina. These commercial wind turbines can be as tall as 500 feet or the height of 50-story skyscrapers. The Ridge Law generally prohibits most tall buildings over 40 feet from being built along the ridgelines.

(8.10.09) Crucial Questions: A Checklist for City Council Candidates and Citizens

City council members hold the reins of the first level of government that affects most North Carolinians. With a proper perspective on the uses and limits of government, these leaders can foster prosperity in their communities through free individuals pursuing their own dreams without fear of the city arbitrarily curtailing their activities or usurping their property or wealth.

(8.03.09) The Economic Impact of North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard

In 2007, the passage of Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) in North Carolina required that all of the state's public electric utilities increase the percentage of electricity generated from new renewable energy sources. The Beacon Hill Institute in conjunction with the John Locke Foundation has set out to estimate the costs and benefits of SB 3 and its impact on the state's economy.

(7.30.09) Ten Myths about North Carolina’s Private Schools: A Parent’s Guide

This guide is a first step in a larger effort to correct decades-old misconceptions about North Carolina's private schools. In the spring of 2009, the John Locke Foundation conducted a survey of all private schools in North Carolina. Much of the information below comes from responses to the questionnaire.

(7.22.09) Not the Best of Both Worlds: Tax credit will not save movies but will lose money

A 25 percent income tax credit on film production expenses would cost the state $63.3 million more each year than the current 15 percent credit, which loses $11.2 million. Ernst & Young estimated the state lost $0.02 on each dollar of tax credits assuming all film-related economic activity result from the tax credit.

(6.29.09) Building a Case for School Choice: Initial Results from a Survey of North Carolina's Private Schools

Better information about North Carolina’s private schools is the first step toward persuading legislators and policymakers to increase educational options for North Carolina families. To this end, the John Locke Foundation conducted a survey of North Carolina’s private schools to gather and analyze data on private schools generally not available to the public. This policy report provides a descriptive overview of questionnaire results of North Carolina’s private schools, focusing on private school academics, students, personnel, finance, and attitudes toward school choice.

(6.25.09) Why North Carolina Should Not Build High-Speed Rail

Because of their high costs, tiny benefits, and interference with property rights, North Carolina should not attempt to provide high-speed rail service. Instead, it should use its share of the $8 billion stimulus funds solely for incremental upgrades, such as safer grade crossings and signaling systems, that do not obligate state taxpayers to pay future operations and maintenance costs.

(6.15.09) Seize Property As a Last Resort: Eminent domain bill should protect humans, not just natural habitats

In North Carolina, the government can invoke eminent domain and seize private property even if reasonable alternatives exist to using this power. A recent Senate bill (SB 600) would allow conservation easement holders to challenge takings in court by requiring the government to prove that no prudent and feasible alternatives exist to condemnation of properties encumbered by conservation easements.

(6.12.09) The Can-Do Budget: The impossible takes a little longer

The original House budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2009-10 used $1.5 billion in Federal bailout funds to craft a budget that spent $19.3 billion. Although it is nearly $3 billion less than the original $22 billion request, the original House plan would have been just $1 billion less than actual appropriations in FY2008-09.

(5.28.09) No Bureaucrat Left Behind: N.C. public schools add staff at a much faster rate than enrollment

North Carolina’s public schools continue to add administrative, non-instructional, and instructional support positions at rates that far exceed enrollment growth. Since 2000, North Carolina’s public school student enrollment (Average Daily Membership) has increased by approximately 13 percent, while school personnel has increased by nearly 18 percent.
North Carolina’s pupil/staff ratio decreased from nearly 8:1 in 2003 to just over 7:1 in 2006.

(5.07.09) Salisbury’s Fiber-Optic Cable System: Another corporate welfare project paid for by average taxpayers

The City of Salisbury recently decided to build a $30 million fiber-optic cable system that will offer Internet, phone, and television service to Salisbury residents and businesses. The city is paying for this system with 20-year bonds.If the system cannot attract enough subscribers, city officials have stated that they will use an increase in property taxes of 9.5 cents per $100 valuation to fund the project.

(5.05.09) The Smoking Ban Bill: Make no mistake; it's an attack on property rights

Either version (House or Senate) of the smoking ban bill is a major threat to personal freedom and property rights. The Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit smoking in “public places” and “places of employment,” such as restaurants. The House version has the same general prohibition, but it also would include a very narrow exception for businesses that do not serve or allow entry to minors.

(4.08.09) City and County Issue Guide 2009

Policymakers in the many local governments of North Carolina face a host of important challenges. This issue guide offers solutions to problems that confront North Carolinians at municipal and county levels. The common thread in these recommendations is freedom. By increasing individual freedom, local governments can foster the prosperity of all North Carolinians and keep open avenues to innovative solutions from enterprising citizens.

(4.06.09) Tax Reform in North Carolina

North Carolina's system of taxation aggressively interferes with individual liberty and retards economic growth. Policymakers should begin to change the tax system.

(3.24.09) Dropout Prevention Grants: Legislators need to rethink their approach to the dropout problem

Only 14 of the 100 schools that received services from dropout prevention grant recipients had substantially lower dropout rates and higher graduation rates from the 2006-07 to the 2007-08 school year. Of the five types of recipients awarded grants, grants to non-profit organizations appeared to have the most success.

(3.16.09) Back to Basics Budget: Responsible savings and reforms

The budget proposal outlined here reduces appropriations in fiscal year (FY) 2009-10 to $18.8 billion, $2.6 billion less than the final budget for FY 2008-09, and similar to the budget for FY 2006-07. In this proposal, per-capita spending adjusted for inflation of $1,969 remains higher than in FY 1997-98 or any year before.

(3.11.09) CO2 Regulation: Will the Environmental Management Commission Ignore the Legislature?

North Carolina may for the first time begin regulating emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), an invisible, odorless gas prevalent in almost every sector of the economy and also vital to human health. The Environmental Management Commission, a state commission that adopts environmental regulations, is considering regulations that would mandate certain facilities to report their CO2 emissions. These regulations would lay the groundwork for far costlier CO2 regulations.

(3.04.09) City and County Budget Crises: When in a hole, first stop digging

This report documents the change in locally generated revenues of 98 North Carolina counties* and the 30 largest N.C. cities between 2002 and 2007. Locally generated revenues increased faster than population and inflation in 96 of 98 counties and 24 of 30 cities. In Union County, revenue increased 48 percent faster than population and inflation over five years. For that reason, many counties and cities are having financial difficulties because they have spent taxpayer revenues on unnecessary or low-priority projects.

(2.17.09) By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2007

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 hard. That's why this report provides information about how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.

(2.12.09) Meaningful Services and Proper Oversight: Two Common-Sense Annexation Reforms

Even those commission members who would have wanted a proper definition of “meaningful services” had to oppose the weak definition provided to them by the legislative staff. The chair prohibited commission members from amending the definition.

The recommendation was so weak that it would have allowed municipalities forcibly to annex areas without providing water and sewer service.

(2.03.09) Annual Report on Teacher Pay: N.C. teacher compensation is more than $4,000 higher than the national average

When adjusted for pension contributions, teacher experience, and cost of living, North Carolina’s adjusted average teacher compensation is $59,252, which is $4,086 higher than the U.S. adjusted average compensation and ranks 14th highest in the nation. In a comparison of Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states, North Carolina’s adjusted teacher compensation is $674 higher than the SREB average adjusted compensation.

(1.22.09) Forced Annexation in N.C.: A question-and-answer guide

Forced annexation is a kind of city-initiated annexation that allows municipalities unilaterally to force citizens living in unincorporated areas into the municipalities.

North Carolina has an extreme annexation law even among states classified by recent studies as forced-annexation states.

(1.14.09) Taxpayer Financing of N.C. Elections: Clearly unconstitutional after the Supreme Court decision in Davis v. FEC

In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Davis v. Federal Elections Commission struck down a federal law that punished Congressional candidates for spending too much of their own money on their campaigns. Under that law, once personal spending exceeded a threshold level, the opposing candidate was given fundraising advantages.

(1.12.09) Does Avery need a land-transfer tax increase?

The Avery County commissioners are asking county residents to approve a sale-tax increase on February 3. This report identifies over $10 million in revenue and savings the county could use to meet its needs; more than triple the amount that the proposed land-transfer tax increase is estimated to produce.

(1.07.09) Spending Beyond Government Means: Even politicians must face fiscal truths

Tax revenue in North Carolina is volatile because of the dependence on income and sales taxes. Proper budgeting would account for the rise and fall in tax revenues over time.

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