• Research Report

    Seize Property As a Last Resort: Eminent domain bill should protect humans, not just natural habitats

    posted June 14, 2009 by Daren Bakst
    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.
  • Research Report

    No Bureaucrat Left Behind: N.C. public schools add staff at a much faster rate than enrollment

    posted May 27, 2009 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    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.
  • Research Report

    Meaningful Services and Proper Oversight: Two Common-Sense Annexation Reforms

    posted February 11, 2009 by Daren Bakst
    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.
  • Research Report

    North Carolina’s Beach Plan: Who pays for Coastal Property Insurance?

    posted November 30, 2008 by Eli Lehrer
    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.
  • Research Report

    Main Street, Not Jones Street: The real greed menacing North Carolina is government greed

    posted November 17, 2008 by Dr. Terry Stoops, Joseph Coletti, Dr. Michael Sanera
    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.
  • Research Report

    Mental Health Reform: Steps Toward Improvement

    posted October 14, 2008 by Joseph Coletti
    Mental health reform began in 2001, but has had disappointing results. This paper examines major areas of the mental health system – care management, criminal justice, provider networks, supplemental services, and payment. It offers some evolutionary steps toward improvement.
  • Research Report

    Does Polk need a land-transfer tax increase?

    posted October 13, 2008 by Dr. Terry Stoops, Joseph Coletti, Dr. Michael Sanera
    The Polk County commissioners are asking county residents to approve a sale-tax increase on November 4. This report identifies over $11 million in revenue and savings the county could use to meet its needs — almost 12 times the amount that the proposed land-transfer tax increase is estimated to produce.
  • Research Report

    Budgeting on Borrowed Time: FY 2009 budget has excessive spending, no saving, and a lot more debt

    posted August 5, 2008 by Joseph Coletti
    The North Carolina General Assembly approved a $21.4 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009, up 3.4 percent from FY 2008, with $21.2 billion in appropriations for operating expenses, up 4.0 percent. As usual, the final budget was prepared behind closed doors by the House Speaker and President Pro Tem of the Senate with minimal involvement from all but a dozen legislators of either party and little opportunity for the public or other legislators to review spending proposals before a final vote.
  • Research Report

    North Carolina’s Unfair Auto Insurance System

    posted July 28, 2008 by Eli Lehrer
    North Carolina’s government-controlled auto insurance system is unfair to good drivers because it overcharges them in order to subsidize some of the state’s more risky and dangerous drivers. Every auto insurance policy written in the state has a hidden tax – which averages 6 percent – that goes to the government-mandated, privately run insurance pool. Download PDF file: North Carolina’s Unfair Auto Insurance System (544 kb)
  • Research Report

    Budget Progress and Regress: Better budget ideas from N.C. Senate, but a worse budget

    posted June 22, 2008 by Joseph Coletti
    The North Carolina Senate approved $21.2 billion in appropriations for operating expenses in fiscal year (FY) 2009, which would be a 3.9 percent increase from FY 2008, which ends June 30. Senators would add $135 million in capital spending and $672 million in debt that would not face voter approval. Total appropriations would be 3.4 percent higher than in FY 2008.

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