JLF Research Archive
Showing items 201 to 225 of 570
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
North Carolina's system of taxation aggressively interferes with individual liberty and retards economic growth. Policymakers should begin to change the tax system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The City of Wilson’s $28 million investment in a fiber-optic cable system for Internet, phone and television could be obsolete even before it is paid for, leaving city taxpayers and electric utility users to pay the balance on the 25-year bonds.
Real reform of the state’s regressive annexation law does not mean getting rid of annexation generally or even city-initiated annexation. However, it should mean getting rid of the practice of forced annexation that allows municipalities to unilaterally force individuals in unincorporated areas to live within the municipalities.
North Carolina's little-known Beach Plan imposes an enormous fiscal liability on the state. Intended largely to provide windstorm insurance for coastal residents unable to find coverage elsewhere, the Plan has grown to become one of the nation's largest entities of its type.
According to the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina, only a handful of fast-growing occupations require a four-year degree. A U.S. Department of Education report found that North Carolina devotes a relatively small share of its resources to vocational schools.
During policy discussions, much is made of the greed of private individuals, but rarely is government greed mentioned. Government greed is the lust for power that consumes policymakers — the desire to do whatever it takes to stay in power and to give government more power. In the North Carolina legislature, government greed is alive and well. Ten policy examples discussed in this report reasonably attest to this lust for power.
Chatham County’s proposed Corridor Overlay District ordinance, if adopted, represents a radical land-use plan that would allow county government to take control of over 23,000 acres of private land without financial compensation. The “Scenic Overlay” part of the ordinance would transfer over 23,000 acres of private property from private control by landowners to political control by planners and the most powerful interest group in the county.