• Research Report

    Citizen’s Guide to Local Spending in Charlotte

    posted October 19, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    City and county government cost on average $3,804 per capita in Charlotte during fiscal year 2004, from July 2003 to July 2004. This was 28.1 percent higher than the $2,969 (constant 2004 dollars) per capita spent in fiscal year 1994. For comparison, real per capita personal income increased just 13 percent over the same period, from $24,926 to $28,235. Most of the increased expenditures were for operations, which climbed 23.2 percent to $2,766 in fiscal 2004. Char-Meck’s high capital spending climbed 43 percent over the decade, to $1,038 in fiscal 2004.
  • Research Report

    Property Rights After Kelo: North Carolina Needs a New Constitutional Amendment

    posted October 16, 2005 by Daren Bakst
    The United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Kelo v. City of New London drastically weakened the property rights of all citizens. North Carolinians can protect themselves by amending the state constitution. An amendment is necessary because state legislation does not provide adequate protection of property rights. All fundamental rights, especially property rights, should be protected in the state’s highest law, the state constitution.
  • Research Report

    The Certification Myth: Teacher certification does not improve student performance

    posted October 5, 2005 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    Like other states, North Carolina maintains a system of certification and licensing for public school teachers. Proponents of the system argue that certification standards will separate good teachers from poor ones, but there is no evidence that these standards determine teacher quality. A state-by-state comparison of teacher certification and student performance on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics exam shows that certification standards and teacher testing did not improve test scores. Schools should be able to recruit and retain talented teachers whether they are certified or not.
  • Research Report

    Building for the Future: The School Enrollment Boom in North Carolina

    posted September 27, 2005 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    Multi-million dollar bond referendums and tax increases will not repair the damage done by years of inadequate school facilities planning. With construction and labor costs rising, massive school building programs, such as the one proposed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), will exert a crippling tax burden on local communities.
  • Research Report

    Citizen’s Guide to Local Spending in Wilmington

    posted September 25, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    City and county government cost on average $2,863 per capita in Wilmington during fiscal year 2004. This cost was 42 percent higher than Wilmington's per-capita spending in 1994. As real per-capita personal income increased just 13 percent over the 10-year study period, operations costs climbed 35 percent and capital spending nearly doubled over the decade. No large city in North Carolina had faster spending growth than Wilmington did.
  • Research Report

    Auto Dealer Protectionism: State Limitations on Dealer Competition Should Be Eliminated

    posted September 6, 2005 by Daren Bakst
    North Carolina law limits the establishment and relocation of new-vehicle dealerships in “relevant market areas” where the same make of car is sold. This law was enacted due to the belief that dealers were in an unequal bargaining position with manufacturers. This rationale is now obsolete. Research also indicates that such laws hurt consumers. No justification exists to continue granting special privileges to dealers, especially when those privileges come at the expense of the public.
  • Research Report

    Ozone in the City: NC Cities on Track for Third Straight Year of Few High-Ozone Days

    posted August 10, 2005 by Dr. Roy Cordato
    Despite record high temperatures during the month of July, North Carolina’s metropolitan areas are experiencing a third straight year of relatively few high ozone days. Unfortunately good news doesn’t sell and there are some “environmental advocates” in the state who seem intent on sounding the alarm bells regardless of the facts.
  • Research Report

    Waiting for Veto: Latest Budget Proposal Could Explode Governor’s Spending Cap

    posted August 9, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    Six weeks into fiscal year 2005-06, the General Assembly has a budget proposal from the conference committee. It includes $17.2 billion in spending (up 7.9 percent from 2004-05), over $700 million in higher taxes and fees, and $681 million in extra collections. This spending is well above the governor's spending cap. A constitutional tax and expenditure limit would provide the best insurance against permanent tax increases from reckless spending.
  • Research Report

    Stars and Cars: $8 Million Proposed for Roanoke Rapids Economic Development

    posted August 3, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    Northeastern North Carolina is trying to reverse its economic misfortune with two large economic development projects that could pull $8.25 million from the General Fund. Proponents want to avoid the legacy of the Global TransPark, but studies used to justify the projects are based on similarly faulty assumptions. A proposed Advanced Vehicle Research Center draws on no existing regional strengths; an entertainment district relies on transforming the region’s tourism. The General Assembly should not fund either project. Members should be sure to read reports on similar proposals–and read them with skepticism.
  • Research Report

    They Can’t All Be Teachers: NC Government Employment High and Rising

    posted August 1, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    From 2000 to 2005, while 105,000 North Carolinians lost jobs in the private sector, state and local government payrolls grew by 46,000 — an increase of 8.2%, 16th largest in the nation. N.C. state and local governments now have 710 employees per 10,000 residents — more than any other state of similar size, including Massachusetts.

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