The economic recession that hit full force in 2008 was declared officially over in June 2009 when the country experienced two quarters of very slow growth. But a troubled housing sector and a still-sluggish economy with high unemployment have contributed to the fiscal crises facing many cities and counties in North Carolina. As always, this edition of By the Numbers is must reading for government officials and taxpayers alike. It highlights what kinds of fiscal problems face local governments in an economy that grows only very slowly. With the facts given here, county commissioners and city council members can easily compare their area’s tax burden to similarly situated cities or counties. For taxpayers, BTN is a starting point for questions about taxes and spending, enabling them to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable.
Every two years since 1996, coinciding with North Carolina's races for the General Assembly, the John Locke Foundation has published a revised edition of Agenda, our public policy guide for candidates and voters. Typically as we enter the campaign season, candidates for public office in North Carolina are faced with a daunting task: to develop informed positions on dozens of public policy issues. In the pages of Agenda 2014 we provide a concise and easily digestible guide covering a wide range of specific issues, from taxes and spending to energy policy and education.
Over the last several years there have been a great many claims about energy subsidies for both renewables and traditional sources like coal and oil. The analysis hasn't, but should, focus on net subsidies, which includes both subsidies and penalties. The important question is - how are coercive policies distorting supply and demand relative to a free market?
posted July 9, 2013 by Jonathan Ingram and Katherine Restrepo
Gov McCrory’s Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina is an innovative approach to redesign the state’s Old Medicaid system. This report explains the strategies and provisions included in the Partnership that help to ensure North Carolina’s Medicaid reform does not replicate Kentucky’s failings.
posted May 28, 2013 by Jonathan Ingram and Katherine Restrepo
The Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina infuses the Medicaid program with winning market-based strategies of competition, accountability, transparency and a common-sense funding structure. Although policymakers should explore additional ways to make the Governor’s proposal even stronger, the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina represents a major step forward in transforming Medicaid into an affordable and successful health care safety net.
posted April 1, 2013 by David Tuerck, Ryan Murphy, & Paul Bachman
A recent report from RTI International and La Capra Associates claims to find net economic benefits for North Carolina's renewable energy policies, but these benefits are mismeasured and spurious. Orthodox cost-benefit analysis will not find anything like what the report's authors estimate. Many claims are difficult to directly evaluate given the opacity of the report, despite the report's length. Elsewhere, confusing terminology conceals the lack of any evidence that subsidizing green energy will reduce the cost of power in North Carolina. The primary benefits the report puts forth are an increase in spending in North Carolina. It implies that a $72 million increase directly led to an increase in total spending in North Carolina by $1.4 billion. This is absurd, even when using a Keynesian model of the economy. Since the report assumes that the programs were paid for by reducing other government spending, the best guess is that they had no impact on spending in North Carolina.
In 2007, the General Assembly passed major energy legislation, SB 3, that would deliberately raise electricity prices in North Carolina through a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (RPS). The bill should be repealed. A bill before the General Assembly would cap and end the RPS mandate.
The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission’s (CRC) forecast of sea level rise from climate change is far greater than the consensus estimate of the United Nations, and Atlantic hurricane activity exhibits no systematic changes in the last hundred years. It is therefore unlikely that catastrophic climate change outcomes await residents of the Outer Banks over the next hundred years.
Declining fish stocks are affecting N.C. fishermen and fishing communities despite the U.S. government spending $70 million a year to bail out failing federally managed fisheries under traditional management systems. Catch shares are a transformative approach to fisheries management that inject property rights into the fisheries to produce a sea change in incentives. Catch shares eliminate race to fish, encourage a more discriminating harvest, and reduce bycatch. Research finds strong links between catch shares and improved economic and biological performance of fisheries and that switching fisheries to catch share systems not only slows their decline but possibly stops (or even reverses) it.
North Carolina’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) administrators have vastly outspent revenues and generated a debt of $2.6 billion with the federal government—the third-highest in the nation, on a per-capita basis. This report proposes five ways for legislators to address this rapidly growing problem.
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