• Budget, Taxation, and the Economy

    • Economic Growth

      Beginning in 2013 with the passage of tax and regulatory reform, the North Carolina legislature has begun consciously to pursue policies that are meant to expand economic growth on a statewide level (See sections titled “Tax Reform”… Read More
    • Federal Aid Dependency

      Every state in the nation relies on the federal government for some portion of its budget. Over the last decade, many states have developed a higher reliance on federal funds than they have had historically, and North Carolina is no… Read More
    • Film Incentives

      “Bull Durham,” “Last of the Mohicans,” “Dirty Dancing,” and most other beloved “North Carolina films” were produced without film incentives. They were made years and years before state officials ever thought the industry required government… Read More
    • Highways and Interstates

      North Carolina’s road quality has been steadily improving in recent years. It is now at or above the national average in some studies. Importantly, recent reform of the state transportation funding formula… Read More
    • Minimum Wage

      Working for the lowest allowable wage is nobody’s ideal. People are rightfully moved by the thought of their neighbors toiling in menial work for small wages. They know how hard it is to make ends meet, even… Read More
    • State Pensions and Other Benefit Plans

      The State of North Carolina is the largest employer in the state with nearly 325,000 full-time equivalent positions. Like most large employers, the State offers its employees a benefits package that includes a retirement plan, health care coverage, and a… Read More
    • State Revenue and Spending

      The state must generate revenue to pay for government provided goods and services. The main sources of revenue for North Carolina’s government are the personal income tax and the sales tax, amounting to 87 percent of the… Read More
    • State Spending Restraint

      North Carolina has a balanced budget amendment, but it was not intended to create a tax-and-spend state. Rather, it requires lawmakers to craft budgets that use tax dollars wisely. For several decades, North Carolina moved… Read More
    • Tax Reform

      For many years, it was recognized that North Carolina’s tax system was in need of a major overhaul. The system was a model of hodgepodge tax policy with high marginal rates on personal and corporate incomes and numerous exemptions carved… Read More
  • Education

    • Charter Schools

      Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that have more freedom than district-run public schools but are required to meet certain state regulations, such as participation in the state accountability program. In 1996, the N.C. General Assembly passed charter school legislation. Read More
    • Child Care

      The Subsidized Child Care Program is one of North Carolina’s longest-running welfare programs. The state began offering subsidies for child care services in 1964. The program provides vouchers to eligible families for child care services offered in any number of… Read More
    • Childhood Health and Nutrition

      As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, the debate over the National School Lunch Program and the sale of junk food in and around public schools has intensified. While elected officials continue their well-intentioned efforts to promote healthy lifestyles in… Read More
    • Class Size

      Support for reducing class size usually cuts across political and ideological divides, garnering accolades from legislators, policymakers, and parents alike. Nevertheless, the relationship between class size and student achievement has been the subject of scholarly debate for decades. While… Read More
    • Education and the Workforce

      Do North Carolinians need four-year degrees to be successful? According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, those who decide to enter the workforce without a four-year degree may have more employment opportunities than those with one. BLS analysts… Read More
    • Public School Finance

      Discussions of funding levels are necessary, but not sufficient, for truly understanding the health of our public school districts. Researchers generally agree that how the money is spent is far more important than how much money is available to be… Read More
    • Federal Education Policy

      Before passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, the United States Congress generally adhered to the principle that the federal government had no authority to undertake functions and duties not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Because… Read More
    • Higher Education Policy

      North Carolinians are proud of their higher education system — both the University of North Carolina, which has sixteen college campuses, and the 58-school community college system. But much of their reputation is based on a belief in quality that… Read More
    • North Carolina Education Lottery

      The North Carolina Education Lottery is a very visible contributor to education funding in the state. That is the case even though the lottery has given less and less of a share of its proceeds to education over the years,… Read More
    • Pre-Kindergarten Education

      Taxpayer-funded pre-kindergarten education in the United States is a multibillion-dollar hodgepodge of state and federal programs. The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, a division within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),… Read More
    • School Choice

      In North Carolina, public education is a core fiscal responsibility of state and local government. In the words of the N.C. Supreme Court, the state constitution recognizes the right to a “sound, basic education” for each child. Read More
    • Standards and Curricula

      Curricula are not standards; standards are not curricula. In the debate over the Common Core State Standards, definitions of key terms, particularly “standards” and “curricula,” vary considerably. For some, standards and curricula are one and the same. For others, standards… Read More
    • Teaching Profession

      No system of public education can thrive without a high-quality teacher work force. The problem is that state education bureaucracies enforce rules and regulations that fail to distinguish excellent teachers from poor ones. Indeed, a large body of research shows… Read More
    • Testing and Accountability

      Beginning with the ABCs of Public Education in 1996 and continuing with the implementation of the READY accountability model in 2012, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction authored, field-tested, administered, and analyzed nearly all end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. During that… Read More
    • Virtual Schools

      In general, a virtual school is an Internet-based learning environment that allows students to participate in a class using a computer rather than being present in a classroom. Students can access all class materials, including lectures, notes, assignments, and handouts,… Read More
  • Government Regulation

    • Alcoholic Beverage Control

      In 2009-10, a succession of scandals in North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system — including exorbitant salaries, nepotism, and lavish parties for ABC board members and staff hosted by liquor representatives — prompted then-Gov. Beverly Perdue to raise the… Read More
    • Civil Asset Forfeiture

      Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that empowers government agents to confiscate property when they suspect it was used for, or derived from, criminal activity. Because it is a civil action, the agents’ suspicions do not need to be… Read More
    • Occupational Licensing

      Everyone in North Carolina has a self-evident, inalienable right to “the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor.” That is according to North Carolina’s Constitution, Article I, Section 1. A person shouldn’t have to petition and… Read More
    • Overcriminalization

      In The Federalist, No. 62, James Madison, wrote: “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be… Read More
    • Eminent Domain

      The U.S. Supreme Court shocked the country in 2005 when—in Kelo v. City of New London—it upheld the use of eminent domain to force working-class citizens out of their homes so that the land could be given to… Read More
    • Regulatory Reform

      North Carolina’s regulatory environment has improved steadily in recent years. The General Assembly under Republican leadership has passed Regulatory Reform Acts annually since 2011. This effort is making North Carolina a national model for other states seeking ways to… Read More
    • Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard

      Households in North Carolina get electricity from a monopoly provider. In return for a guaranteed consumer base, electric utilities are expected to provide reliable power. Utilities were also expected to provide the least-cost reliable power. That changed… Read More
    • The Map Act

      The Map Act is a state law that allows road planners to establish official maps of future road corridors in order to freeze development within the maps, reducing property values, and thereby reducing the amount of just compensation that must… Read More
    • Juvenile Justice

      Whereas most states have stopped treating minors as adults for criminal justice purposes, in North Carolina the age of juvenile jurisdiction remains the same as it was in 1909. This is unfortunate. Compared to what happens in other states, processing… Read More
  • Health Care

    • Certificate of Need Laws

      Certificate of Need (CON) is a regulation that limits health care supply unless a specific “need” is determined by state health care planners. If medical providers have plans to build or expand an existing health care facility, offer… Read More
    • Direct Primary Care

      The excessive amount of government intervention that has encumbered our nation’s health care system is pushing some physicians to scale back or cut off their relationships with middleman insurers to spend more time with their patients. This… Read More
    • Health Insurance Exchanges

      One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) key provisions is the implementation of health insurance exchanges — online marketplaces where individuals can shop for federally qualified health plans offered by participating insurance companies. Through the exchanges, the Obama administration intends… Read More
    • Medicaid Expansion

      Medicaid is a program jointly funded by the state and federal governments. One of its core functions includes paying medical providers for services rendered to low-income parents and children, pregnant women, the elderly, the blind, and the disabled. The federal… Read More
    • Medicaid Reform and ACOs

      In just one year, plans for North Carolina’s Medicaid reform have changed quite a bit. One year ago, Gov. Pat McCrory proposed a Medicaid reform that would have statewide managed care organizations (MCOs) compete to provide health care services to… Read More
    • Mental Health

      North Carolina’s management and delivery of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services (MH/SAS/DD) have undergone many changes since passage of the 2001 Mental Health System Reform Act. In December 2013, the McCrory administration announced that the state’s 10… Read More
  • North Carolina Info

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Agenda 2016

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