JLF Research Archive

Showing items 201 to 225 of 535

(10.10.08) Does Tyrrell need a land-transfer tax increase?

For the second time, the Tyrrell County commissioners are asking county residents to approve a tripling of the land-transfer tax (from 0.2 to 0.6 percent), this time on November 4. This report identifies over $6.4 million in revenue and savings the county could use to meet its needs — almost nine times the amount that the proposed land-transfer tax increase is estimated to produce.

(10.06.08) Charlotte’s LYNX Line: A Preliminary Assessment

Dr. David Hartgen analyzes the Charlotte LYNX Line, finding, among other things, that final LYNX construction costs are about $521.9 million, about 130 percent above the initial estimate ($227 million), operating costs are about $9.22 million/year, and revenues are averaging about 31 percent of operating costs.

(10.01.08) Private Well Regulation: A Real Possibility for North Carolinians

Despite claims to the contrary, North Carolina’s new drought management bill does not expressly prohibit the regulation of water use from private wells. In fact, the bill likely authorizes regulation of water use from private wells.

(9.23.08) Taxpayers’ Return on Investment: North Carolinians get little value for their tax dollars

North Carolina’s relatively high tax burden in the region has not improved the state’s schools, roads, health, or crime as much as would be expected. Per-capita personal income growth also lagged, though population grew faster in N.C. than in most other states.

(9.23.08) Performance Pay for Teachers: Increasing Student Achievement in Schools with Critical Needs

In 2006, in recognition of the need to attract and retain experienced administrators and teachers who teach subjects (Math and English/Language Arts) that are part of the state and federal accountability requirements, Guilford County Schools, the third largest school system in North Carolina, initiated Mission Possible. The program offers recruitment and performance incentives for teachers and administrators who teach in the county’s low-performing and low-income schools.

(9.16.08) Dropout Prevention Grants: An Update

During the last legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly voted to reestablish the Committee on Dropout Prevention and add $15 million to the existing $7 million for dropout prevention grants.

The purpose of the dropout prevention grants is to raise the graduation rate. Among districts receiving grants last year, 27 of 38 had a declining graduation rate from the 2006-07 school year to the 2007-08 school year.

(9.04.08) The New Raleigh Convention Center: A taxpayer-funded money pit

Although many Raleigh and Wake County taxpayers do not realize it, city and county officials knew from the beginning that the new Raleigh Convention Center would require taxpayers to pay for large operational losses and even pay large subsidies to organizations to use the facility. Even before the doors open on September 5, the losses and subsidies have begun to mount.

(8.21.08) Energy Behavior Modification: The Failure and Arrogance of Centrally Planned Energy-Efficiency Programs

Energy-efficiency programs generally have many of the same problems as Duke Energy’s heavily criticized Save-A-Watt program. Energy-efficiency programs force consumers to pay an extra hidden tax on their utility bills to subsidize financial incentives for the purchase of energy-efficient goods and services.

(8.19.08) The Parental Prerogative: How ‘parent-friendly’ are school districts in North Carolina?

This report develops a system to evaluate school districts on how “parent-friendly” they are. In other words, to what extent do North Carolina’s school districts provide children a sound, basic education in a stable and safe school environment that is responsive to the needs of children and the concerns of parents?

(8.06.08) Budgeting on Borrowed Time: FY 2009 budget has excessive spending, no saving, and a lot more debt

The North Carolina General Assembly approved a $21.4 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009, up 3.4 percent from FY 2008, with $21.2 billion in appropriations for operating expenses, up 4.0 percent. As usual, the final budget was prepared behind closed doors by the House Speaker and President Pro Tem of the Senate with minimal involvement from all but a dozen legislators of either party and little opportunity for the public or other legislators to review spending proposals before a final vote.

(7.29.08) North Carolina’s Unfair Auto Insurance System

North Carolina’s government-controlled auto insurance system is unfair to good drivers because it overcharges them in order to subsidize some of the state’s more risky and dangerous drivers. Every auto insurance policy written in the state has a hidden tax – which averages 6 percent – that goes to the government-mandated, privately run insurance pool.

Download PDF file: North Carolina’s Unfair Auto Insurance System (544 kb)

(6.23.08) Ten Myths of the Annexation Process: The truth is, N.C.'s annexation law lets municipalities run wild

The annexation law, despite hollow claims to the contrary, imposes few requirements on municipalities and offers little protection for citizens when it comes to forced annexation.
Municipalities can forcibly annex areas that do not meet density requirements.

(6.23.08) Budget Progress and Regress: Better budget ideas from N.C. Senate, but a worse budget

The North Carolina Senate approved $21.2 billion in appropriations for operating expenses in fiscal year (FY) 2009, which would be a 3.9 percent increase from FY 2008, which ends June 30. Senators would add $135 million in capital spending and $672 million in debt that would not face voter approval. Total appropriations would be 3.4 percent higher than in FY 2008.

(6.17.08) N.C. House’s FY 2009 Budget: Smaller than the governor’s, but not any better

The North Carolina House passed a $21.35 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009, with $21.18 billion for continuing operations, which would be increases of 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, from FY2008. Teachers would receive an average 3.0 percent pay increase and state employees 2.75 percent. Those raises would total $367 million.

(6.11.08) Special-Needs Tax Credits: Giving parents a choice in education

Our public schools are struggling to meet the needs of special-needs students throughout North Carolina. During 2006-07 school year, less than 50 percent of high-school students with disabilities graduated in four years. A legislative analysis found that the state would save at least $3 million a year in the cost of educating special-needs students, so long as at least five percent of the special-needs students in public schools transfer to a private provider or facility.

(6.10.08) End the Commission — Or Mend It: The Climate Change Commission fails to stick to its mission

The Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change’s work expired in April 2008. The legislature currently is considering the extension of the commission’s work. A commission to study global climate change can serve a vital purpose, but unfortunately this commission has failed miserably.

(6.09.08) Where the Bodies Are Buried: How experts for N.C.’s Attorney General mislead the public about TVA air pollution risks

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates 11 coal-fired power plants in the southeastern United States. These plants emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contribute to particulate matter (PM) and ozone in the eastern U.S., including North Carolina.

(6.03.08) Center for Local Innovation City & County Issue Guide 2008

North Carolina local government policymakers face many important challenges. This issue guide offers solutions to problems faced by the citizens of the state. The common thread in these recommendations is freedom. By increasing individual freedom, local governments can foster the prosperity of all North Carolinians.

To reach the City & County Issue Guide home page, click here.

(5.28.08) Common-Sense TIF Reforms: Ways to Avoid Randy Parton Theatre-Like Debacles and Other Disasters

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a type of public-debt financing that is supposed to promote private economic development in designated districts through the development of public improvement projects.

(5.15.08) Sustainable Growth: Principles and Policies

This report on sustainable growth is the third in a series of annual research papers from the John Locke Foundation devoted to explaining the principles of free markets and applying them to current controversies in North Carolina.

(5.14.08) Fiscal Transparency in N.C.: Surveying state and local governments

Citizens don’t have the ability to easily track how state and local governments spend their tax dollars — but they should. Budget information isn’t available online in easily searchable databases, but it should be. Citizens shouldn’t have to make special requests to obtain budget information.

(5.14.08) Saving, Spending and Taxing: Governor proposes $1 billion in new operating appropriations

Gov. Easley proposed $21.4 billion in state appropriations for continuing operations in fiscal year 2009, up $1 billion (4.9 percent) from the final budget for fiscal year 2008. Combined pay increases, including one-time bonuses, for teachers and state employees total $594 million. Less than a fifth of the $400 million in spending reductions are much more than reclaiming money that would not otherwise be spent.

(5.13.08) Low-Cost Energy: Critical for the Economy and Our Way of Life

Low-cost energy is not only critical to the economy, but also to our health, safety, and general welfare. Despite concerns over energy prices, policymakers are intentionally increasing energy prices through new taxes and regulations.

(5.01.08) The Economics of Climate Change Legislation in North Carolina

The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, Mass., reviews policies under consideration in North Carolina to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Supporters contend those policies would help North Carolina respond to climate change. Supporters also contend the policies would produce positive economic benefits.

This report rebuts the advocates’ economic arguments. Beacon Hill Institute researchers find “serious methodological flaws” in the documents used to justify the climate change policies.

(4.30.08) Un-Affordable Housing: Cities keep low- and middle-income families from home ownership

Many North Carolina cities use affordable-housing policies to provide housing to low-income citizens. No doubt started with the best intentions, those policies ignore fundamental economic realities and produce the opposite effect than was intended.

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