Carolina Journal Weekly Report

Weekly Report 2010-03-05

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of
March 05, 2010

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s centerpiece
air-quality regulation is expected to cost electric customers more than
$3.2 billion, far more than supporters ever projected. Meanwhile, the
state has offered no proof that the measure has produced any air-quality
improvements, according to a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report.

“This measure dubbed the Clean Smokestacks Bill offers the worst of both
worlds: skyrocketing costs and no evidence that all those costs make
any difference in improving air quality,” said report co-author Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and
Resident Scholar
. “This report paints a far different picture than the
one the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources would like
to present.”

Cordato and JLF research intern Kamen Nikolaev dug through publicly
available information that estimates the Clean Smokestacks Bill’s costs
and benefits. Approved in 2002, the measure required utility companies
to make “dramatic reductions” in nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide
emissions from the state’s 14 coal-fired power plants. Duke Power and
Progress Energy approached that goal by installing scrubbers on power
plant smokestacks, Cordato said.

“When this measure started as a demand from the left-wing pressure group
Environmental Defense, the cost was estimated at less than $450
million,” Cordato said. “By the time Duke Power and Progress Energy
offered their own estimates in 2002, the price tag had jumped to $2.3
billion. As of June 2009, the cost estimates had climbed by nearly
another $1 billion to a total of $3.2 billion.”

News Features

CJ: TransPark still broke with no way to retire debt
RALEIGH — Even though the Global TransPark has landed an “anchor tenant” in Spirit AeroSystems, a Wichita, Kan.-based company that is set to
start manufacturing large aircraft components later this year, government incentives to Spirit mean taxpayers will subsidize employment
at GTP to the tune of $200,000 per job.

CJ: Law firms seek cut of state pension litigation
RALEIGH — The collapse of investment portfolios
has securities law firms trolling for clients eager to sue over lost
money. State pension funds are major targets for the high-flying
litigation shops. North Carolina is in the cross-hairs of some 45 law firms. State
Treasurer Janet Cowell will choose about 10 to serve as a pool for
lawsuits. Representatives from Cowell’s office and the office of
Attorney General Roy Cooper are evaluating proposals from the firms.

CJ: Report reviews speech codes at N.C. colleges
RALEIGH — The report shows that no school truly protects freedom of
speech. The report, which lists the rating of each school on freedom of
expression, does not include a single “green light” — FIRE’s signal that
schools do not threaten students’ free-speech rights.

CJ: Guilford schools want in on federal stimulus fun
GREENSBORO — Why should
Guilford County Schools let everyone else have all the federal bond fun? While county commissioners and the Greensboro City Council are still
trying to hash out the confusion surrounding federal stimulus bonds for a
proposed downtown luxury hotel, GCS is reviewing its list of projects
that could be funded with federal bonds, entertaining the idea of using
those bonds to pay for projects passed by voters in a 2008 local bond

State plods along on probation hiring
RALEIGH — The state’s crippled probation system is now hiring. But it
hasn’t done much to get out the word about open positions, and nearly
all jobs require two years of experience in social work, the military or
law enforcement, limiting the applicant pool. The number of open
positions for street-level officers rose to 141 in late January, up from
109 in December 2008, when Gov. Bev Perdue hired new leaders to fix the
system. It had been struggling to fill jobs and to supervise criminals
not sentenced to prison.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 08, 2010 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Pierre Desrochers
In Praise of the 10,000 mile diet:
The Case against ‘Buy Local’ Food Initiatives

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 at Noon
A Headliner Luncheon
with our special guest Cal Thomas
The American Political Scene

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

Capital Quotes

The ABC system in North Carolina is much like a great big ol’ onion. The more you peel, the more layers you get, and the more you cry.
— Rep. Pryor Gibson, D-Anson, as quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer, talking about the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control system.

The SBI is not entitled to any trust right now.
Staples Hughes, the state’s appellate defender, talking to the Raleigh News & Observer about the State Bureau of Investigation creditability in cases involving lab work conducted in the early 1990s.

We’re trying to change a culture that for many, many years said it was OK to drop out.
Reeves McGlohon, superintendent of the Gaston County schools, talking to the Charlotte Observer about efforts to reduce drop outs in his school system. Statewide, the percentage of high school students dropping out as declined measurably over the past two years.

Most of us want to have more services, not less.
— Mecklenburg County Commissioner Dan Murrey, as quoted by the Charlotte Observer, talking about the scale of local government in the state’s most populous county.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Becki Gray discusses the 2010 election impact on redistricting; JLF’s Roy Cordato responds to co-chairman John Garrou about future state efforts to address global warming; Reps. Doug Yongue and Jennifer Weiss and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson comment on a legislative study of childhood obesity; Jason Kay of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law explains the state’s restrictive ballot access laws; and JLF’s Daren Bakst recommends changes to hold regulatory boards accountable for their policy decisions.

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: The 2010 elections; Governor Perdue’s executive order to favor North Carolina businesses; the NAACP’s opposition to adding more honors classes; and nuclear power. This week’s panelists: John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; Cash Michaels, columnist with The Carolinian and the Wilmington Journal and former legislator Connie Wilson.


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