posted November 5, 2015 by Paul Bachman, Michael Head, Frank Conte
This report is an attempt to identify the scope and cost of regulations in the state of North Carolina. The state’s record is mixed in terms of regulatory burden. One prominent index ranks North Carolina fifth in the nation when it comes to business friendliness. In contrast, the John Locke Foundation’s “First in Freedom Index” ranks North Carolina 36th in “regulatory freedom.”
Between FY 2009 and FY 2014, 81 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties participated in economic development activities. Counties entered into 776 contracts worth nearly $284 million in incentives over the five-year period. Actual payments, however, totaled $144 million.
The governor and Republican members of the state legislature are advocating for a host of new incentive programs and the extension and/or expansion of others. However, these programs are likely to harm consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs who are not privy to the subsidies.
A transition away from licensure and into voluntary private certification would inject freedom and choice into the market for service professionals and into the labor market. It would pay dividends in terms of job creation particularly in low-income neighborhoods.
The North Carolina historic preservation tax credits sunset on January 1, 2015. State government should strive to keep the tax code clean. If lawmakers choose to enact a program to aid in historic preservation, a grant program is a better alternative than a tax credit.
Capital gains taxes penalize saving, investment, and therefore entrepreneurship, by imposing a second layer of taxation on equity investment. The most straightforward way to end this bias is to eliminate the tax on capital gains completely.
Since the 1940s, over a million wells have used hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) safely. The chemicals used are about 99 percent water and sand. The rest is a blend of chemical additives, most of which are found in typical household and personal care products.
Along with hopes for new jobs and a stronger economy, the prospect “fracking” in North Carolina has raised concerns. Some are legitimate questions informed by responsible skepticism, but others are fears fanned by activists and pressure groups. This paper seeks to address those questions and concerns.
Officials from Haywood County have proposed an increase in the county’s occupancy tax by 50 percent, which would disadvantage Haywood compared to surrounding counties with lower rates. Taxation is justified only for necessary purposes of government. Tourism promotion is not such a function and can best be served by the private sector.
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