Carolina Journal Weekly Report

May 11, 2012

Carolina Journal Weekly Report
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For the week of May 11, 2012 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina state government is spending more money per person this budget year than ever before. A new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report documents that fact, which gets lost in ongoing debates about state budget “cuts.”

“Total state spending per capita is at its highest level ever in the 2012 fiscal year and has more than tripled since 1970,” said report author Fergus Hodgson, JLF Director of Fiscal Policy Studies. “Adjusting for inflation, state spending has increased in that period from $1,701 per person to $5,247.”

That spending expansion has far exceeded personal income growth, Hodgson said. “State spending stood at 10.9 percent of personal income in 1970, dipped as low as 9.3 percent in 1984, and never exceeded 12 percent prior to 2008,” he said. “Yet for 2012 it is on course to be 14.4 percent of North Carolinians’ income.”

Hodgson documents state spending facts and explains how those facts are obscured in public debate. He also recommends new constitutional spending limits, an increased focus on state government’s true spending and liability numbers, and action on a federal balanced budget amendment.

Spending on all reported state budget categories has more than doubled since the mid-1970s, Hodgson said. “This is true for education, corrections, health and human services, transportation, and debt payments.”

News Features

CJ: Percentage of high school grads taking remedial courses keeps rising
RALEIGH — For a third consecutive year, the percentage of North Carolina high-school graduates enrolling in at least one community college remedial course increased, the John Locke Foundation’s top education expert has found.

CJ: Perdue budget includes tax hike
RALEIGH — The three-quarter-cent sales tax centerpiece of Gov. Bev Perdue’s $20.9 billion budget proposal would be used to hire more teachers and launch jobs programs, but is a “non-starter” for Republican leaders.

CJ: Marriage amendment collects big margin
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s lopsided vote backing a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman is a national body blow to Democrats and signals that social issues are very much part of the political landscape this year, supporters of Amendment One say.

CJ: Republicans poised to gain congressional seats
RALEIGH — Republicans positioned themselves to make substantial gains in North Carolina’s congressional delegation following Tuesday’s primary.

CJ: Commission told of need for consumer protections from fracking
RALEIGH — Landowners need consumer protections built into North Carolina law to prevent potential financial losses, property damage, and mortgage mayhem from complicated oil and gas leases, said officials in the state Attorney General’s Office April 26 to members of the Environmental Review Commission.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Robert Childs, MPH
The Case For Syringe Decriminalization in North Carolina

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

This is a socially conservative state.
Andrew Taylor, a political scientist at N.C. State University, commenting to the Raleigh News & Observer on the approval of a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

They are horrible.
Thomas Mills, a Democratic campaign consultant, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about runoff elections, which draw few voters to the polls.

I don’t know how many times you have to say that’s not the direction we’re going in.
— Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, as quoted by the Associated Press, rejected Gov. Bev Perdue’s call for an increase in the sales tax to fund eduction.

Overall, I think it’s been a very good thing. Certainly for the local economy, it’s been very good.
Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of downtown Greensboro Inc., an economic development group, describing the impact of the John Edward trial to the Raleigh News & Observer.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Carolina Journal’s Jon Ham discusses the media narrative about a war on women; lawmakers react to suggestions about cost savings in the state aircraft fleet; state auditor Beth Wood, DENR staffer Edythe McKinney, and lawmakers discuss problems with a program designed to speed environmental permits; AEI president Arthur Brooks shares insights from his book The Road to Freedom; and JLF’s Terry Stoops analyzes the N.C. Senate Republicans’ education reform plan.

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week: Election results; the state budget; and the John Edwards trial. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Henry Hinton of Inner Banks Media; and former Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edminsten.


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