• Research Report

    Consumer Protection Blackout: Why the Public Staff Should Be Reformed

    posted March 5, 2007 by Daren Bakst
    The Public Staff is an independent government agency whose role is to represent the interests of electricity consumers before the Utilities Commission. However, as recent examples demonstrate, the Public Staff is acting more like an environmental advocate than a consumer advocate. The Public Staff has recommended a major new tax on consumers, possibly as large as $181 million annually. The Public Staff also has expressed support for wind power plants even though it would mean higher costs and an unreliable means of electricity for consumers. The agency needs major reforms so consumer interests are truly protected, including term limits on the executive director of the Public Staff.
  • Research Report

    A Better Bargain: Meeting North Carolina’s needs without a $1 billion tax hike

    posted February 27, 2007 by Joseph Coletti
    Budgets reflect priorities. When families face a new expense, they must cut back on another expense. Governments do not have this limitation. When legislators find they have spent too much or that there are new activities worth funding, they can raise taxes to make sure the budget balances and pass along the tough decisions to businesses, entrepreneurs, and families.
  • Research Report

    State Board of Repetition: State Board of Repetition

    posted February 26, 2007 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    North Carolina’s public schools students are falling behind, and the State Board of Education is to blame. As Governor Easley prepares to fill two vacancies on the board, it is time to appoint members who can bring fresh approaches and new ideas, not more groupthink, to the body that controls our beleaguered public school system.
  • Research Report

    Buildings Don’t Teach Students: North Carolina should concentrate on what goes on inside the buildings

    posted February 26, 2007 by Dr. Michael Sanera
    Unfortunately for North Carolina’s students, most of the adult debate over schools has focused on where to find the money to build the schools to accommodate its rapidly growing student population. Last year several NC counties passed bonded indebtedness of nearly $1.5 billion and presently counties and the state are discussing more bonds totaling an additional $3.6 billion.
  • Research Report

    It’s Not Just a Good Idea, It’s the Law: Climate Commission Ignores Legislative Mandates

    posted February 19, 2007 by Dr. Roy Cordato
    Any recommendations made by North Carolina’s Global Climate Commission this spring will lack much of the underlying analysis required by the Commission’s enabling legislation. Senate Bill 1134, which established the Commission in 2005, was explicit. It stated that the Commission “shall conduct an in depth examination” of a list of important scientific and economic issues. After over a year of meetings the Commission has ignored what any reasonable observer would conclude are the most important questions.
  • Research Report

    Bad Credit: State Earned Income Tax Credit would do little good at great cost

    posted February 18, 2007 by Joseph Coletti
    The Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has helped single mothers escape poverty, but it has penalized married parents and is plagued by misunderstanding and fraud. A state EITC at five percent of the federal level would cost $66 million with the same problems but less impact. State tax credits should address problems in the federal tax code, such as the penalty against middle class parents who do not qualify for means-tested programs or against individuals who do not purchase health insurance through their employer. The state child tax credit addresses the former and a health insurance purchase tax credit would address the latter problem.
  • Research Report

    Learning About Teacher Pay: N.C. teachers are favorably compensated; what they need is merit pay

    posted February 13, 2007 by Dr. Terry Stoops
    Adjusted for cost of living, pension contribution, and teacher experience, the state’s average teacher salary is $993 higher than the U.S. adjusted median salary and $2,733 higher than the U.S. adjusted average salary. There is little evidence that a higher average salary or better benefits will, in any significant way, improve recruitment and increase retention of teachers. A system of merit-based pay would provide an incentive for highly qualified individuals to enter and stay in the teaching profession.

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