Carolina Journal Weekly Report

Weekly Report 2005-02-25

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of
February 25,
2005
carolinajournal.com


Reaction of the Week

Gov. Mike Easley, in
his proposed budget
for fiscal 2005-07, recommended Wednesday that lawmakers
retain
a 4-year-old “temporary” sales tax increase and also tack an additional
45-cent per-pack tax on cigarettes.

 At the same time the governor
called for the extension of another
“temporary” income tax—a one-half
percent increase implemented four
years ago on the state’s highest earners,
which would ultimately be
phased out in 2007.

Easley proposes $1.125
billion more General Fund spending than the state is projected to receive
in revenues next year. According to  fiscal analysis by the John Locke
Foundation
,
the governor uses higher taxes to account for two-thirds,
or $741
million, of the deficit, while only 18 percent of the gap is closed
by
proposed cuts in the base budget.

Easley, in a press conference
announcing his budget proposal, said the plan reflects principles of fiscal
discipline
while
funding necessary education and economic development
priorities. He
identified more than $200 million in reductions for next
year’s budget,
almost one-third of which is achieved through flexible
agency cutbacks.

The governor’s budget writers also called for higher
taxes
on telecommunications, satellite and cable television service, liquor,
candy, newspapers, and entertainment.



News Features

Poll shows NC
views on Social Security, tax

ELON — North Carolinians are more likely
to disapprove than approve
of President George W. Bush’s handling
of Social Security, with older
people and women expressing the strongest
disapproval, according to the
latest Elon University Poll. Sixty-nine
percent of those surveyed
expressed support for creating a state lottery
in North Carolina, and
63 percent expressed support for increasing the
state’s nickel-a-pack
cigarette tax. 

NC loosing rep as “Good
Roads State”

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s reputation as the “Good Roads
State”
dates back to 1921, when Gov. Cameron Morrison used $50 million
in
bonds to improve 5,500 miles of roads previously maintained by
counties.
This year, though, transportation and elected officials are
facing a cold
reality: the pace can’t be kept up. More money must be
found to meet the
demand being placed on North Carolina’s roads. 

Jobs shift as textiles
continue to change

GREENSBORO — By the time the job losses stop —
perhaps by the end
of the decade — North Carolina’s textile and apparel
industry could
lose more than 70 percent of its remaining work force.
But part of the
losses can be attributed to the concept of what goes around,
comes
around. The textile industry moved to North Carolina and other Southern
states
from the Northeast at the beginning of the 20th century because
employees
here would work for less money. 

Support for $700 million transit is
mixed

RALEIGH — While the federal government asks questions about
the
Triangle’s planned rail transit system, a News & Observer survey
of
Wake and Durham County residents finds mixed support for the $695
million
project. 54 percent of Wake County respondents agreed that the
rail plan
“makes sense for the Triangle,” and 52 percent said they
planned to ride
the trains. 48 percent of Durham County respondents
said they did not
plan to ride the rails. 

Proposed incentives seen as just a start
RALEIGH
— The $4 million offered by Gov. Mike Easley is a good start
North
Carolina filmmakers said Thursday, but many expressed concern
that it
might not be enough. Meeting informally with officials from the
N.C. Department
of Commerce, some of the state’s casting directors,
film promoters
and studio executives got a presentation on what the
governor has in mind
for incentives for the state’s film industry.

Declaring winner
may take some time

RALEIGH — The Democratic candidate for state school
superintendent
wants the Legislature to settle her race as soon as lawmakers
pass a
bill setting rules by which the General Assembly can resolve disputed
elections.
Although the measure is expected to get final legislative
approval early
next week, it could be a month or more before the
General Assembly – or
the courts – finally name a winner in the school
superintendent vote that
took place Nov. 2.

Hospital forms compact with uninsured
CONCORD —
At least one NC hospital has found a way to avoid
controversy over differences
in the amount people pay for services.
Many other hospitals are involved
in class action suits involving
uninsured patients. The suits argue that
the hospitals’ practice of
negotiating discounts with insurance
companies is unfair to uninsured
patients. That issue is why last July,
Frye Regional Medical Center in
Hickory began making a compact with all
uninsured patients. 

Suit could alter statewide mental care
FLETCHER
— The last time Thomas Reiter turned uncontrollably
violent, his
mother called the only resource she knew that could help:
the sheriff.
Deputies arrived, handcuffed Thomas and drove him to the
nearest available
psychiatric bed four hours away at John Umstead
Hospital in Butner, where
he remained for six weeks. This is not the
kind of community-based service
that state health officials were
talking about in 2001. 

Easley Announces
New Jobs – Again

RALEIGH — Workhorse Aviation Manufacturing will open
a manufacturing
plant at the Global TransPark near Kinston, Gov. Mike
Easley said
Wednesday. The company will create 50 jobs over the next three
years
and invest more than $2 million in a deal made possible in part
because
of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, he said. But in
November,
Easley announced that Workhorse Aviation would locate the same
project
in the Trenton Industrial Park in nearby Jones County. The governor’s
spokeswoman
wasn’t aware of the previous announcement and couldn’t
explain
why the company changed locations. 

Area veterans remember Iwo Jima
ASHEVILLE
— Trapped in a shell crater with six other US marines,
Charlie Sawyer
had nowhere to hide and nowhere to go. Iwo Jima, a
Japanese-held island
in the central Pacific, was of tremendous
strategic importance and became
a killing ground for both countries in
WWII. The battle would become the
biggest and costliest the Marine
Corps ever fought. Sawyer, a Weaverville
native and member of the 4th
Marine Division, remembers his seven days
on the island with a clarity
that only comes with trauma. 






Upcoming
Events

Monday, February 28, 2005 at 12:00 noon
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with
Holly Brewer, Ph.D.
By Birth or Consent: Children, Law, and the Anglo-American
Revolution in Authority

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 at 12:00 noon
Headliner
Luncheon

with Sally C. Pipes
Health Care in 2005: What To Expect From The
Bush Administration

Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 7:00 pm
A Magical Evening
of Historical Proportions

with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
The Future
of the United States

Friday, March 11, 2005 at 6:00 pm
15th Anniversary Celebration
with
The Honorable George Allen
Washington Update: A Conservative Perspective

Friday,
March 18, 2005 at 12:00 noon

Headliner Luncheon
with Stephen Goldsmith
Governing
by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector

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

Capital Quotes

People
are misled to think the lottery brings in more than it does.


John Rustin, of the NC Family Policy Council, as quoted by The Fayetteville
Observer
pointing out that lottery revenue estimates by the state typically
do not include prizes and administrative costs.

I do believe [Gov.
Mike Easley] is a viable candidate to be president of the United States.
He needs to reconnect with the grass roots.

— State Sen. Doug
Berger, D-Franklin, as quoted by the Raleigh News
& Observer describing
a disconnect between the state Democratic
party and local affiliates,
which Democrats hope can be bridged by the
recent election of Fayetteville
attorney Jerry Meek as state party
chairman. 

He’s not flashy.
But he knows how to get things done.

US Rep. Patrick McHenry
as quoted in the News & Observer of
Raleigh describing US Sen. Richard
Burr after working with him in
Washington – and seeing Burr use a credit
card to scrape the ice off
the windshield of his 1974 Volkswagen.

It’s
like saying if you would only leave the vault open, nobody would ever get
hurt in bank robberies because the bad guys could just walk in and take
the money.

Ron Woodard, president of the Raleigh-based immigration
reform group NC Listen, as quoted by the Greensboro News & Record describing
current state policies that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s
licenses and auto insurance. 

Are you going to have anything
that’s been successful, or even close to successful, or are they all going
to be these sorry scores I keep looking at?

— Wake Superior
Court Judge Howard Manning as quoted by The Charlotte Observer venting
his
frustration at Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system officials and
their
management of current funds in light of recent requests for more
state
money. 

There are people who are angry that able-bodied (adults)
are not contributing something to society.

Jeri Arledge,
director of Charlotte Housing Authority client services, as quoted in The
Charlotte Observer

describing reasons why the authority will begin enforcing
federal rules
that require “able-bodied, jobless pubic housing tenants
to perform 8
hours of community service each month.”

The cornerstone
of open government law is to stop back-room deals from happening, where
it’s too late for public input.

— NC Press Association attorney
John Bussian as quoted by the Triad Business Journal explaining NCPA’s
reasons for suing the state for closing off records to economic development
negotiations.

It’s squeezing out any affordable housing.

Davidson County developer John Kavanagh as quoted by the Greensboro News
& Record

discussing how impact fees are targeted at developers but
are usually
passed down to homebuyers in increased housing prices. 

Amtrak
is on financial life support. It is fundamentally flawed and needs reform
from top to bottom.

US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta
as quoted by The Charlotte Observer
defending Bush Administration’s restructuring
of the national passenger
service provider. North Carolina’s Piedmont
and Carolinian trains
receive $4.5 million a year in subsidies from the
state. 

The distinction is in the disclosure.

State Rep. Grier Martin, Raleigh-D, as quoted by the Raleigh News &
Observer
defending
his push for lobbying reform and explaining the current
discrepancy in
requiring legislators to report campaign contributions
but not
requiring lobbyists to report dinners, gifts or trips to legislators.




On
The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
Join host John
Hood for the most informative news hour on the North Carolina radio waves.
This week Pope Center for Higher Learning Director George Leef discussing
the federal financial aid. Then, CJ associate editor Donna Martinez hosts
another installment of Locker Room Talk – a discussion on this week’s best
blogs from the John Locke Foundation weblog, The Locker Room. Next, University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill journalism professor Dr. Phillip Meyer
will discuss his new book, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in
the Information Age
. And last, Meredith College professor of History Dr.
William Price
will discuss his research on a historic North Carolinian
anti-federalist and leader, Nathaniel Macon



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.
This week’s
topics include: Easley’s State of the State, The Easley
Budget, Mr. Jerry
Meek shall inherit the dearth, and the Currituck
Ferry tied to the dock.
This week’s panelists include: Rufus Edmisten,
former Secretary of State;
Chris Fitzsimon, from NC Policy Watch;
political analyst Jeanne Smoot;
and John Hood,  president of the John
Locke Foundation.



At Issue

This
week on At Issue…

Triangle viewers can tune in as host Monty Knight
moderates another exciting week of political debate between Carolina Journal’s
Donna Martinez and the Carolinian’s Cash Michaels. This week, newly
elected state Democratic party chairman Jerry Meek will discuss the future
of the party. Then State Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, will discuss his bill
to exclude abortion from the state health plan. And last Philip Mangano
from the US Agency on Homelessness will discuss the 10 year plan to end
Triangle homelessness.

 

© 2005 John Locke Foundation
| 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, (919) 828-3876

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