• Research Report

    Sales Tax Hike Kills Jobs: Plan Could Raise Jobless Rate, Cut Border Sales

    posted July 10, 2001 by John Hood
    A plan to increase North Carolina's sales tax by up to one penny, with a corresponding reduction in tax reimbursements to local governments, could endanger the state's economic recovery and threaten tens of thousands of jobs. No change in expected revenue growth or threat to the state's bond rating would have consequences severe enough to justify a $400 to $800 million tax hike on families and businesses whose tax burden is already the highest in the Southeast.
  • Research Report

    The Truth on Global Warming: Smokestacks Bill Could Lead to Costly Regulations

    posted July 4, 2001 by Dr. Roy Cordato
    Embedded within "clean smokestacks" legislation now moving through the General Assembly is the creation of a new commission to develop state policies to combat global warming. But the scientific issues involved are complex and unsettled. If North Carolina were to try to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions on its own, it would have a trivial impact on global climate but destroy tens of thousands of jobs, particularly in the state's faltering manufacturing sector.
  • Research Report

    Competition in Electric Power: Strategies For Reform

    posted June 30, 2001 by John Hood
    Author Doug Bandow looks at the ways in which government intervention into the provision of electric power has harmed consumers, and he recommends ways to make the system more competitive. (62 pages-not available online.)
  • Research Report

    Missing Rungs II: Manufactured Housing and Homeownership in North Carolina

    posted June 30, 2001 by Michael Lowrey, John Hood
    Homeownership is a vital component to a stable society and a thriving economy. It is a well-known presumption that owning a home gives an individual a stake in his or her society. For example, according to a recent study by scholars at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, homeowners are 10 percent more likely than renters to work to solve local problems. Another consideration is that homeownership is also the most common form of savings for the average working family. A home is typically the largest investment most families have. By Jonathan C. Jordan and Michael Lowrey
  • Research Report

    Best of Both Budgets:

    posted June 26, 2001 by John Hood
    Budget negotiations between the House and Senate typically lead to higher spending, as each side accepts all or part of an item the other wants. Another approach would be to accept only spending common to both budgets, a "reverse logrolling" that lets government expand only when a consensus exists to do so. For FY 2000-01, this approach would save nearly $200 million for future state employee benefit reforms and raise operating spending by only 3.8 percent.
  • Research Report

    House Shaves Growth: Budget Eschews Big Tax Hike, Still Increases 4.4%

    posted June 25, 2001 by John Hood
    The North Carolina House is debating its version of a 2001-03 state budget this week. Although imposing only a $6 million tax hike in contrast to the $233 million tax increase included in the Senate budget House leaders still managed to increase General Fund spending by 4.4 percent in the coming fiscal year, relying on increased collections of delinquent taxes, interagency transfers, and debt-service savings to balance the books. Now the budget battle really begins.
  • Research Report

    Fiction & Fact on Pay: More data would help taxpayers and state workers

    posted June 21, 2001 by Don Carrington
    State employees can't be blamed for seeking better compensation. All workers do. But to fulfill their responsibility to taxpayers, lawmakers should rely on solid data when evaluating pay requests. The vacancy rate in state government is highly exaggerated, for example, while the number of vacant jobs actually being advertised is shrinking rather than growing. Furthermore, national data suggest that N.C. state workers are competitively paid on average and cannot demonstrate the higher productivity that might justify higher pay levels.
  • Research Report

    Framing the Budget Debate: House Plan Reduces State Savings, Increases Risk

    posted June 20, 2001 by John Hood
    Putting the House's FY 2000-01 budget into proper perspective requires careful consideration of how spending should be measured and how it has changed over time. Furthermore, proposed changes in how the payroll and teacher bonuses are budgeted are more than just accounting gimmicks. They represent a net reduction in state savings. The bottom line for taxpayers: if current trends continue, state leaders will be setting the stage for tax increases in the near future.
  • Research Report

    Slow Down On Bonds: First Ask Questions About UNC Budget Priorities

    posted June 17, 2001 by George Leef
    A recent report showing that many state university buildings are in very poor repair and warning of explosive UNC enrollment growth has led to a proposal that would allow the state and the university system itself to sell bonds without voter approval. There are strong reasons to doubt that this is the best way to solve the problem of building maintenance, and to consider redirecting existing funds and allowing more students to choose private colleges to reduce the pressure.
  • Research Report

    Sales-Tax Hike Not Needed: There Are Better Ways to Help Struggling Localities

    posted June 12, 2001 by Eric Root, John Hood
    Some state lawmakers are discussing a plan to give local governments the authority to raise their sales taxes by up to 1 penny while simultaneously eliminating state tax reimbursements. While it is true that many counties are raising property taxes this year, most have not been starved for revenue during the 1990s. More importantly, the state can give the same assistance to localities without raising taxes by increasing flexibility and assuming more responsibility for Medicaid.

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