JLF Research Archive

City & County Government

Showing items 1 to 25 of 63

(2.05.14) City and County Issue Guide 2014

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.


(4.22.13) By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2011

Counties and towns are critical levels of government in North Carolina, providing or administering many services while taking in billions of dollars of revenue. This is especially true as the state government has increasingly shifted more taxing authority to localities to make up for money kept by the state. While the importance of county and municipal government is great, obtaining comparative data is difficult. To help address this problem, By The Numbers provides information on how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.


(9.12.12) Flex Growth: A smarter option for North Carolina communities

In recent years, an increasing number of local governments across the nation and across North Carolina have adopted “Smart Growth” policies. However, North Carolina should look to the future and adopt a flexible growth agenda — Flex Growth. Flex Growth is a market-based system of principles for government land use and development policy, especially at the state and local government levels, based upon the idea that people — and not government bureaucrats and planners — know what is best for themselves.


(2.28.12) By the Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2010

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue, but finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.


(2.16.12) Wake County Sustainability Task Force Report: An Alternate Opinion

This Regional Brief critiques the process used by the Wake County Sustainability Task Force and its final report. The author was a member of the task force.


(2.13.12) Raleigh Convention Center: Throwing good money after bad

This report examines 52 contracts signed by the Raleigh Convention Center for the period of July–December 2011 and is a follow-up to the September 2008 John Locke Foundation report “The New Raleigh Convention Center: A taxpayer-funded money pit.”


(1.31.12) Review of the Wake County Transit Plan

The draft Wake County Transit Plan, released in November 2011, proposes a doubling of bus service, new commuter rail service between East Garner and Durham, and light rail service between Cary and northeast Raleigh. The expanded service is proposed to be funded by a 1⁄2-cent sales tax, a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees, increased vehicle rental fees, transit bonds, state and federal funds, and rider fares. The estimated cost of the expanded bus and commuter rail plan is $2.8 B, and the full plan (including light rail) $4.6 billion through 2040.


(11.10.11) First Annual North Carolina County Privatization Survey

County governments all over North Carolina are saving money by privatizing services. In an effort to assist in the exchange of information about these activities, the John Locke Foundation conducted a survey of all 100 counties asking county managers to tell us about governmental activities that they currently supply privately. We also asked them if they had problems in the past with a privatized activity that had caused them to return the activity to government provision.


(11.01.11) A Quarter-Million More for Montgomery? Secretive county seeks a third tax increase in three years

Montgomery County commissioners have raised the property tax by nine cents over the last three years, from 58 cents to 67 cents per $100 valuation — a 15.5 percent increase. Now the commissioners want voters to approve a quarter-cent sales-tax increase worth an estimated $250,000.


(10.19.11) Durham’s Tale of Two Tax Increases: County seeks $26.5 million’s worth of sales-tax hikes for schools and transit

Durham County commissioners are asking voters to approve two sales-tax increases on November 8. The requested increases would amount to $26.5 million per year in new tax revenues. This request comes amid news that state unemployment has been above 9 percent since January 2009 and is currently 10.4 percent.


(10.12.11) Orange Crush Revisited: County commissioners ask voters a third time for a tax increase

Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.5 million sales-tax increase at a time of high unemployment. Twice before Orange County voters rejected tax increases. Just last November, rural county voters rejected a sales-tax increase by 2 to 1. The ballot offers nothing else for rural voters this time around, while urban voters also must pick candidates for city offices. Commissioners' hopes for a tax increase may hinge on low rural turnout.


(9.14.11) A Blank Check for Buncombe: County commissioners ask voters for a sales-tax increase

Buncombe County commissioners seek voter approval of a sales-tax hike, promising that the $7 million that would be raised would be given to AB Tech for a new building and renovations,. The funds would go into the county’s general fund, however and could be spent on any legal purpose.


(5.10.11) Taxers’ Choice in Cabarrus: If the sales-tax increase fails, county threatens to hike property taxes

Commissioners of debt-ridden Cabarrus County want taxpayers to bail them out by approving a quarter-cent sales tax increase on May 17. If the voters do not approve the tax increase, commissioners threaten to hit them with a 2.2-cent property tax increase.


(3.15.11) By the Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties FY 2009

County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue, but finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.


(1.27.11) Blocking Eminent Domain Abuse in NC: It’s past time for well-crafted constitutional amendment

There is optimism that an eminent domain amendment will pass this upcoming legislative session. This Spotlight explains how to craft the amendment carefully to best protect property owners.


(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.


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