• Research Report

    Sanford’s Triple Bogey: The City Government Has No Business Being in the Golf Business

    posted September 26, 2006 by Dr. Michael Sanera
    Over the past five years, Sanford’s city owned and operated golf course experienced operational losses of more than $1 million. With its course, the city engages in unfair competition with five private courses in the immediate area and 45 courses within a 30-mile radius of Sanford. Private golf courses contribute to the local government by paying city and county taxes. Unlike police and fire protection, golf is not an essential city service. If the course were sold, city taxpayers would gain the amount of the sale and avoid paying its average annual losses of $200,000 per year. Also, a privately operated golf course would contribute to the tax base of the city and county.
  • Research Report

    Riding the Eminent Domain Rail: Triangle Transit Authority Is N.C.’s Case Study in Eminent Domain Abuse

    posted September 21, 2006 by Daren Bakst
    The Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) has been seizing private property for a rail system even though the necessary federal funding has never been secured. In late 2005, as it became clear that the rail was likely a dead project, the TTA still condemned land even though it meant forcing people out of their homes and businesses. TTA’s eminent domain abuse, however, may reach a new level. Through a possible public/private partnership, TTA may start using the already seized private property, and acquire additional private property, for economic development reasons. Unfortunately, current N.C. law may allow for these Kelo-type takings.
  • Research Report

    Spend and Tax: A History of General Fund Crises in N.C. and How to Prevent Them

    posted September 13, 2006 by Joseph Coletti
    The General Assembly is often said to have "tax and spend" policies, but its pattern is one of "spend and tax" policies. During economic booms, tax revenues increase and legislators fund new programs that cannot be sustained during an economic bust. When the bust comes, legislators raise taxes to pay for those new government programs.
  • Research Report

    Conquering Traffic Congestion in the Capital City: More Effective Solutions Than Light Rail

    posted August 14, 2006
    For over fifteen years, the Triangle Transit Authority has pursued a regional rail for North Carolina’s capital region, to no avail. At the same time traffic congestion in the Triangle has worsened, with other viable alternatives largely being ignored. Recognizing this, it is important to understand the causes of congestion in order to develop workable solutions to the problem.
  • Research Report

    Wake County’s Edifice Complex: Extravagant School Buildings Do Not Lead to Higher Student Achievement

    posted August 8, 2006 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    Contrary to the claims of school officials and community leaders in Wake County, students do not necessarily perform better in schools that have fewer mobile units or temporary classrooms, more square feet per student, and more acreage. This finding is consistent with national and international research that found no consistent relationship between school facilities and learning. The Wake County Public School System can scale back their multi-billion construction and renovation plans without harm to student learning.
  • Research Report

    Teaching Immigrants English: Direct Instruction Is the Best Way to Teach Limited English Proficient Students

    posted July 16, 2006 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    The number of limited English proficient (LEP) students has been increasing for years, but the state’s public schools lack a systematic and proven program to teach English to these children. Reading scores among students who are learning English remain low, especially among high school students. The best way to teach English to North Carolina’s LEP students is through universal training in and adoption of Direct Instruction methods, which is a proven way to teach English as a second language.
  • Research Report

    Illegal Immigrants and Driving: N.C. Legislature Should Stop Helping Illegal Immigrants Obtain Licenses

    posted June 28, 2006 by Daren Bakst
    North Carolina makes it very easy for illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Instead of requiring Social Security Numbers to get a license, the state accepts IRS-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), even though they primarily are issued to illegal immigrants. To make matters worse, the state does not even require that people prove their lawful status in the country. In 2005, the state's own auditor warned against accepting ITINs, yet the legislature still has failed to take any action.
  • Research Report

    The Burden of Immigration: Confusing Statistics on Hispanics and Illegal Immigrants

    posted June 20, 2006 by Joseph Coletti
    As the debate about immigration continues, all involved need to be aware of the limitations of existing statistics. Hispanics are about 6 percent of the state’s population and growing. Illegal immigrants make up an estimated 45 percent of the state’s Hispanic population, but 76 percent of recent entrants. The economic and government service usage effects of Hispanics on the state are also significant, but the impact of illegal immigrants is less clear.
  • Research Report

    Freedom Budget 2006: Providing Relief to North Carolina’s Counties and Taxpayers

    posted June 12, 2006 by Joseph Coletti
    Economic growth has given the General Assembly $2.4 billion more to spend. Higher sales and income taxes have contributed to this surplus. The Senate adds $1.4 billion in new spending, and relies on nonrecurring revenues for $400 million in new recurring obligations. Drawing on the John Locke Foundation’s Freedom Budget 2005, this paper offers an alternative budget that would end the sales tax and income tax increases from 2001, eliminate Medicaid’s burden on counties, and keep spending growth to 4.3 percent – all within the limit of population growth and inflation.

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