Issues

  • Municipal Government Workforce Thrives While Private Sector Struggles

    The number of local government workers at the municipal level in North Carolina grew at nearly twice the rate of private sector workers, and also outpaced the state’s population growth, over a recent ten-year period, according to an analysis released today by the Civitas Institute.

  • As Private Sector Struggles, Local Government Workforce Expands

    The number of local government workers at the municipal level in North Carolina grew at nearly twice the rate of private sector workers, and also outpaced the state’s population growth, over a recent ten-year period.

  • Top Ten Golden LEAF Wasteful Projects

    The Golden LEAF Foundation, an organization created and funded by the legislature and whose very existence is dubious at best, has seen its substantial amount of funds remain untouched, even while state budget writers have raided several other state “trust funds” and implemented massive tax hikes in order to balance the state budget.

  • Congress should help small business by keeping ‘death tax’ dead

    N.C. small business owners and family farmers can look forward to keeping their businesses in the family - at least this year. The federal estate tax, or "death tax" as it is commonly known, expired at the end of last year. Prior to that, families could be required to hand over to Washington nearly half of the combined value of virtually everything they own - personal and business assets alike

  • State Budget Increases Spending, Adds Nearly 900 Government Workers While Private Sector Continues to Struggle

    The spending plan increases actual spending over the current fiscal year, adds 864 full-time positions to the state payroll, raids lottery funds to preserve teacher jobs, freezes teacher and state employee pay and offers a misguided package of targeted tax breaks intended to help small business job growth.

  • Spending isn’t stimulating

    This article first appeared in the June 26 News & Observer. RALEIGH -- Nearly a year and a half has passed since President Barack Obama signed the federal stimulus package into law. How is that working out? The president's own economic advisers assured us that the deficit spending would help boost economic recovery and keep the nation's unemployment rate under 8 percent. As of May, it stands at 9.7 percent.

  • Federal Earmarks Make State Economies Worse Off

    Want to get North Carolina state lawmakers as excited as a kid on Christmas morning? Tell them that some "free" federal government money is coming to the state. Indeed, many of us can recall last year when Gov. Bev Perdue excitedly declared she would "drive a truck" down to South Carolina because she was so giddy over the prospect of North Carolina taking any federal recovery funds our southern neighbors may refuse...

  • $300 Million Budget Window

    North Carolina budget writers have a window of roughly $300 million within which to negotiate the 2010-11 state budget. Where their final spending plan falls within that window will reveal a lot about their seriousness regarding fiscal restraint. The state budget Conference Committee, comprised of lawmakers selected from both the state House and Senate, are currently attempting to iron out differences between the House and Senate budget proposals.

  • House Budget falls short of addressing Prisoner Education Problem

    Just last week, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed their anxiously awaited budget for FY 2010-11. As many had expected, the content of this year’s budget mirrored the tribulations of North Carolina’s economy, as many critical programs suffered sizeable budget cuts to reconcile the state’s $1 billion budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

  • Wake School Budget: Behind the Numbers

    In 2000, the WCPSS operating budget was a mere $653 million. What accounts for the dramatic growth in the school budget? A review of WCPSS budget trends for the period 2000-2009 can help provide some answers.

  • NC Senate Immigration Bill Gives Tacit Support to Arizona

    North Carolina has followed suit in drafting immigration legislation in the wake of the recent Arizona illegal immigration law that enables the state to deal with this growing problem.

  • Obama Approval Dragging Democratic Generic Ballot Down

    It is often theorized that mid-term Presidential year elections are simply referendums on the voters’ satisfaction with the current administration’s term in office.  Often though, those mid-term elections, like we are having in 2010 are met with substantial losses for the party in power.  In fact, only twice in the past 100 years has the party who controlled the Presidency picked up seats in Congress during that President’s first mid-term year election.

  • H.B. 1403 “Collect DNA Sample on Arrest”: What They’re Not Saying

    Legislators who support H.B. 1403, sponsored by Reps. Wil Neumann (R-Gaston), Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Gaston), Darrell McCormick (R-Yadkin) and Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg), which would require the collection of DNA upon arrest for all felonies and certain misdemeanors, have only focused on how it would exonerate the innocent.

  • N.C. House’s 2010-11 Budget Recommendations: UNC System

    The North Carolina House of Representatives budget plan would reduce the funding for the UNC System by $98 million for FY 2010-11. The House's proposal differs greatly from both the Governor's recommendations and the Senate's budget, who both recommended moderate budget increases for the coming fiscal year. In spite of the overall spending reduction, however, the House recommends adding 243 new full-time positions to the state payroll. Most of these positions would be for maintenance and security staff for additional buildings being put to use. Major reductions and expansions include: Expansions: Tuition Repeal: $34.78 million. Repeals the legislative tuition rate increase approved during the 2009 legislative session and increases state appropriations to make up the difference Need-Based Financial Aid: $12 million. This increase in financial aid would restore non-recurring aid appropriated the previous year as recurring funds going forward. Building Reserves Restored: $12.2 million. This proposal would restore funding cut in the 2009 Session. This funding would support the maintenance and operations of 55 new or renovated buildings completed within FY 2009-11. The money would go toward the creation of 184 maintenance, housekeeping and security positions. ECU Dental Schools Operations: $6 million. Funds the ECU Dental School as it seeks accreditation, and to meet faculty and operating needs before it opens in the Fall of 2011. Enrollment Growth: $ 5.6 million. Increases funding for UNC enrollment growth due to an increase of 441 full-time equivalent enrollees over previous estimates. Aid to Private College Students: $4.6 million. Expands funding for the Legislative Tuition Grant and the State Contractual Scholarship Fund for enrollment growth of 2.9% in FY 2010-11. Reductions: Management Flexibility Reduction: $147 million. This proposal would impose a mandatory reduction on the UNC operating budget with an emphasis on non-teaching related positions. This reduction would take effect on top of a $100 million management flexibility reduction authorized in the base budget for FY 2010-11. Repeal of Non-resident Full Scholarship Tuition Waiver: $15.5 million. The House proposes to halt reimbursements to the UNC system for losses of revenue incurred by affording non-resident students on full-scholarship in-state tuition. UNC Advertising: $2.5 million. The proposal would impose a 24% reduction in the UNC advertising budget. Aid to UNC Hospitals Reduced: $15 million. This would be a reduction of the $44 million per annum appropriations to UNC hospitals, a reduction that could be made up for with part of the UNC Hospital's $500 million in unrestricted reserves. HMCUC Funds Transfer: $525,000. Eliminates the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium Closing the Achievement Gap project and transfers funding for that project to the Department of Public Instruction.

  • N.C. House’s 2010-11 Budget Recommendations: Transportation

    The North Carolina House 2010-11 budget recommends spending $2.66 billion on transportation. Most notably, the House budget joins Gov. Perdue's budget proposal in setting up the N.C. Mobility Fund, which would be designed as a funding mechanism for statewide transportation needs. The Senate's plan did not include a Mobility Fund. The House plan differs from the Governor's, however, in that the House does not propose an increase in DMV fees to help finance the Mobility Fund. Moreover, the House would utilize unused Turnpike money along with diverting a part of the annual transfer from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund to finance the Mobility Fund. The House's Mobility Fund would receive initial financing of a reported $39 million, compared to Perdue's desired $95 million. The first project to receive Mobility Fund dollars under the House plan would be a widening of I-85 near the Yadkin River Bridge. Also of note is the House budget's provision ordering the state's Ferry Division to develop a fee schedule in order to cover operating costs, which are budgeted to increase by $11 million in the coming year. The House budget joins the Governor and Senate budget plans in appropriating more than $30 million to reinstate the Driver Education program. Major expansions and reductions include:
 Expansions: $500,000 to accommodate the transfer of two Department of Commerce aircrafts to the Department of Transportation's Aviation Division. The House budget also would retain $500,000 normally earmarked for the annual transfer to the General Fund in order to pay for the aircrafts $11.3 million in additional funding for Ferry Division operating costs $32 million to partially restore funding for the Driver Education program. The program's funding had been temporarily taken off the 2010-11 budget pending a continuation review Reductions: $3.2 million saved by eliminating DMV positions that have been vacant more than 18 months and DOT positions vacant for six months or more

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