Private, charter, and home schools continue to be popular in many states, including North Carolina. This popularity, however, has not produced a significant enrollment shift from district schools to schools of choice – private, charter, or home schools. North Carolina and nine other states had a net increase in the percentage of students attending a school of choice between 2001 and 2010, but statewide market share increases were trivial. School choice reformers must continue their praiseworthy efforts to expand educational options for families. They must also recognize that the traditional public school system will remain the primary provider of schooling for most families.
posted May 8, 2012 by Thomas A. Rubin, Dr. David Hartgen
Based on our review of the TTA Response, we continue to have major reservations concerning the feasibility of the Wake County Transit Plan. The TTA Response does not adequately respond to our questions concerning ridership or costs. It does not deal with the inconsistencies in ridership estimated implied in the Plan versus those in the earlier documents and, in fact, introduces new ones. The ridership estimates provided in the TTA Response are several times higher than those implied in the Plan, and the costs per rider are much lower than those implied in the Plan. Further, the Response does not respond to our concerns expressed in the John Locke Foundation’s earlier Review regarding other serious issues. Therefore the TTA Response is deemed inadequate, and our fundamental concerns regarding the costs and benefits of this Plan remain unaddressed.
County and municipal governments provide many key services while taking in billions of dollars in revenue, but finding comparative data is hard. That's why this report provides information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.
posted February 12, 2012 by Kevin Munger, Dr. Michael Sanera
This report examines 52 contracts signed by the Raleigh Convention Center for the period of July–December 2011 and is a follow-up to the September 2008 John Locke Foundation report “The New Raleigh Convention Center: A taxpayer-funded money pit.”
posted January 30, 2012 by Thomas A. Rubin, Dr. David Hartgen
The draft Wake County Transit Plan, released in November 2011, proposes a doubling of bus service, new commuter rail service between East Garner and Durham, and light rail service between Cary and northeast Raleigh. The expanded service is proposed to be funded by a 1⁄2-cent sales tax, a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees, increased vehicle rental fees, transit bonds, state and federal funds, and rider fares. The estimated cost of the expanded bus and commuter rail plan is $2.8 B, and the full plan (including light rail) $4.6 billion through 2040.
posted November 9, 2011 by Kevin Munger, Dr. Michael Sanera
County governments all over North Carolina are saving money by privatizing services. In an effort to assist in the exchange of information about these activities, the John Locke Foundation conducted a survey of all 100 counties asking county managers to tell us about governmental activities that they currently supply privately. We also asked them if they had problems in the past with a privatized activity that had caused them to return the activity to government provision.
posted October 31, 2011 by Fergus Hodgson, Dr. Terry Stoops, Dr. Michael Sanera
Montgomery County commissioners have raised the property tax by nine cents over the last three years, from 58 cents to 67 cents per $100 valuation — a 15.5 percent increase. Now the commissioners want voters to approve a quarter-cent sales-tax increase worth an estimated $250,000.
posted October 18, 2011 by Fergus Hodgson, Dr. Terry Stoops, Dr. Michael Sanera, Daren Bakst
Durham County commissioners are asking voters to approve two sales-tax increases on November 8. The requested increases would amount to $26.5 million per year in new tax revenues. This request comes amid news that state unemployment has been above 9 percent since January 2009 and is currently 10.4 percent.
posted October 11, 2011 by Dr. Terry Stoops, Dr. Michael Sanera
Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.5 million sales-tax increase at a time of high unemployment. Twice before Orange County voters rejected tax increases. Just last November, rural county voters rejected a sales-tax increase by 2 to 1. The ballot offers nothing else for rural voters this time around, while urban voters also must pick candidates for city offices. Commissioners' hopes for a tax increase may hinge on low rural turnout.
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