• John Locke Update

    Closing shop at PED

    posted February 22, 2021 by Joseph Coletti
    Program Evaluation Division has served a useful purpose, but it was limited in what it could recommend. Partisan staff can more easily identify solutions, provide strategic advice, and answer “why” questions.
  • John Locke Update

    Now is not the time for new programs or debt

    posted January 27, 2021 by Joseph Coletti
    An uncertain economic time is not good for borrowing. If the state takes out debt and the post-COVID economy turns out to be smaller, then debt capacity will shrink and the debt will end up taking more from other priorities. If the economy recovers quickly, then the state would have more money available for capital anyway.
  • John Locke Update

    A Covid Misery Index

    posted December 1, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    Since each state’s business restrictions temporarily sacrifice jobs to save lives, a reasonable question would be, “How are states doing?” That is the point of the Covid Misery Index, which measures each state on jobs lost per million state residents since February and the number of Covid-related deaths per million state residents.
  • John Locke Update

    State revenue picture continues to improve

    posted November 23, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    North Carolina state government continued to have strong finances seven months after the economy first began to slow in March. Budget writers should nevertheless be cautious about adding spending commitments, however.
  • John Locke Update

    Tame spending now or be forced to cut it later

    posted November 9, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    As Milton Friedman often remarked, the bill always comes due. Today’s spending must be paid by taxes, regardless whether those taxes were collected in the past, are collected this year, or will be collected in the future.
  • Research Report

    Big Government, Big Price Tag – Part 3

    posted November 3, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    “Keep your eye on one thing and one thing only: how much government is spending, because that’s the true tax. … The thing you should keep your eye…
  • John Locke Update

    Election 2020: Local bond and tax ballot questions

    posted October 21, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    The middle of an economic and public health crisis, when people are worried if they will still have work in December and the federal budget deficit is in excess of…
  • John Locke Update

    Cautiously Optimistic FY 2021 Budget Update

    posted September 17, 2020 by Joseph Coletti
    Just before Labor Day, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the final bill appropriating money from North Carolina’s $3.6 billion share of the Coronavirus Trust Fund. He was clearly under duress. A veto of the bill that passed with large bipartisan majorities would surely have been overridden.