Archive for the ‘John Locke Foundation’ Category


Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Unemployment in the Tar Heel State dropped by 17% in the second half of 2013 after extended benefits expired. 

John Hood Mr. Hood is chairman and president of the John Locke Foundation, a public-policy think tank based in Raleigh, N.C.

July 4, 2014 Raleigh, N.C.

A year ago, North Carolina became the first state in the nation to exit the federal government’s extended-benefits program for the unemployed. Facing the prospect of job-killing hikes in payroll taxes to pay back Washington, Gov. Pat McCrory and the state legislature instead reduced the amount and duration of unemployment-insurance benefits, which had been higher in North Carolina than in most states. As a result the state lost its eligibility to participate in the extended-benefits program on July 1, 2013.

National media and liberal activists pounced. Citing the decision and several other “outrages” by the state’s first Republican-led government since Reconstruction—such as adopting a pro-growth flat tax, clearing out the state’s regulatory thicket, and rejecting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion—left-wing critics subjected the Tar Heel State to months of invective and ridicule.

Within the state, the so-called Moral Monday movement drew thousands of protesters to the capital on a nearly weekly basis. Hundreds of arrests were made for violating the rules of the state’s Legislative Building. Outside the state, liberal media outlets excoriated North Carolina for ending extended benefits. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it a “war on the unemployed.” Even some conservative columnists and policy analysts criticized the decision as unwise and inconsistent with the principles of their new “reform conservatism” movement.


An employee at Siemens Energy Hub in Charlotte, N.C. Associated Press

North Carolina didn’t descend into the Dickensian nightmare critics predicted. For the last six months of 2013, it was the only state where jobless recipients weren’t eligible for extended benefits. Yet during that period North Carolina had one of the nation’s largest improvements in labor-market performance and overall economic growth. (more…)



Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013



Medicaid in North Carolina

| October 3, 2013 |

Becki Gray      by Becki Gray, Carolina Journal, October 3, 2013.

Before Obamacare, before individual mandates, before exchanges, there was Medicaid. Started in 1965 under President Johnson as part of his War on Poverty, Medicaid extended health insurance coverage to low-income Americans.

Today, Medicaid is the largest publicly funded insurance program in the country. It serves low-income families, the elderly, and disabled. One In five Americans is on Medicaid, more than one-third of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid, and one-fourth of U.S. children get health care through Medicaid.

Medicaid covers one in nine North Carolinians — 1.6 million of us — and 51 percent of births are covered by Medicaid, the sixth-highest rate in the nation.

Medicaid is funded jointly by the state and federal governments. North Carolina’s share of the program is about $3 billion, while total Medicaid spending in N.C. is closer to $14 billion.

Medicaid spending has grown 90 percent over the last decade and is the fastest-growing part of our state budget, with spending rising by 15 percent in 2011-12; 16.8 percent in
2012-13; and a projected 17.2 percent in 2014-15.

North Carolina’s Medicaid costs are the highest in the South and among the highest in the nation. We have more people enrolled and spend more per patient than neighboring states. Twenty-five percent of the state’s primary care physicians aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients, limiting access, reducing health outcomes for patients, and driving up costs.

Uncontrolled expenses result in consistent budget overruns. Just this year, legislators faced a $400 million shortfall. Since Medicaid is a federal entitlement program, it has to be funded before anything else. Medicaid is the biggest driver of state budget decisions, crowding out other priorities. (more…)



Sunday, December 9th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  • December 8, 2012

North Carolina as the Blueprint for a

Red-State Resurgence

With party unity, good candidates and an inclusive message, conservative campaigns can prosper.


Democrats across the country are celebrating the re-election of President Obama and the pickup of two seats in the Senate and eight in the House. But in two formerly Democratic states, Republicans have much to be joyful about.

The GOP victory in North Carolina included the governorship, veto-proof majorities in the state Senate and House, control of 54 of the state’s 100 counties, three new U.S. House seats, and a pivotal seat on the state Supreme Court. All this lifted Mitt Romney to a narrow victory in a state that Mr. Obama won in 2008.

It is premature to declare North Carolina a reliably red state, but Republicans are “positioned to be the dominant party in North Carolina for at least a decade if not beyond,” says GOP consultant Marc Rotterman.

The same is true in Arkansas, the second-best state for Republicans in last month’s election. Both states offer Republicans an opportunity to unseat Democratic senators in 2014. In Arkansas, the GOP trend has moved so quickly that Sen. Mark Pryor, who had no Republican opponent in 2008, is now considered highly vulnerable. In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagen, when matched against an unspecified Republican challenger, led just 45%-41% in a Public Policy Polling survey last month. The last Democratic senator to win re-election in North Carolina was Sam Ervin in 1968.

Republicans in the Tar Heel State were unified, with all elements of the party, including social conservatives, engaged with the various campaigns. The GOP ticket was ideologically balanced, with moderate gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory at the top. The party, Republican campaigns, and GOP-oriented groups joined in a massive turnout operation. Republicans exploited every opening that Democrats gave them—and there were plenty.


Associated PressPat McCrory

The administration of incumbent Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue—though not Ms. Perdue personally—was marked by scandals. The John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank, uncovered numerous instances of misconduct and reported them in its publication, Carolina Journal. Gov. Perdue’s job approval sank to 25%, making her the second-most unpopular governor in the country (behind Pat Quinn in Illinois). (more…)



Tuesday, November 15th, 2011


the Charlotte Observer –

Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011

By Jim Morrill

A national online effort to find and nominate a candidate for president has begun a petition drive to get that candidate on the ballot in North Carolina.

Americans Elect, described as a “virtual Third Party,” hopes to mobilize tens of thousands of people across the country to recommend and then vote on a presidential ticket in 2012.

Organizers say they’ve already gotten the 1.6 million signatures they need to get on the ballot in California.

“There’s a real hunger out there for a third ticket in 2012 and for folks to participate in a more meaningful way in a primary,” Elliot Ackerman, the group’s chief operating officer, told the Observer on Monday. “Not just people who live in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire but every American.”

The group’s board of advisers includes Mark Erwin of Charlotte, an investor and former U.S. ambassador, former FBI Director William Webster and Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

Its website says the nonprofit group plans to use the Internet “to help break gridlock and change politics as usual.”

Basically, the plan works like this: (more…)



Monday, November 14th, 2011


John Hood’s Daily Journal
Carolina, Look North
By John Hood , John Locke Foundation

Monday 14th, 2011

RALEIGH – The Old North State’s economy is in a shambles. The New North State’s economy isn’t.

North Carolina, the Old North State, has posted the nation’s weakest recovery from the 2007-08 recession, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of the States (BEES). The index includes measurements of unemployment, income growth, home prices, mortgage foreclosures, government finances, and the stock performance of public companies based in the state.

From the fourth quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2011, North Carolina ranked dead last in performance on the BEES index. North Dakota ranked first – in fact, it was the only state that posted significant economic growth during the period.

One reason for North Dakota’s success is, of course, its energy industry. Rising worldwide demand for energy has pushed up prices for oil and natural gas. As far as we known, North Carolina does not hold any significant oil reserves, onshore or offshore. But the situation is entirely different when it comes to natural gas. There is no good reason for North Carolina not to allow additional private exploration of natural gas, which will create jobs, boost incomes, and reduce long-term energy costs. (more…)



Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Carolina Journal Exclusives

The State of the State (of Higher Education)

Chronicle reports on funding, degree trends at N.C. colleges

Sep. 28th, 2011

RALEIGH — Every year, The Chronicle of Higher Education releases its fact-filled almanac issue, which provides useful information about colleges and universities in every state. Some of the key findings about North Carolina are noted here.

To begin with, North Carolina has 16 public four-year institutions, 59 public two-year institutions, 44 private nonprofit four-year institutions, one private non-profit two-year institution, and 17 private for-profit institutions. These add up to a total of 137 higher education institutions in the state.

University finances

Despite the economic downturn, university funding and spending grew in 2011.

• State and federal support for higher education in North Carolina rose 6 percent between academic years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

• Two of the 99 American institutions that charged more than $50,000 for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2010-11 are located in North Carolina: Wake Forest University ($50,980) and Duke University ($51,865). (more…)



Friday, September 23rd, 2011

N.C. community college remedial rate rises faster than public school graduation rate
JLF expert says data suggest public school standards remain alarmingly low

John Lock Foundation

Dr. Terry Stoops


Click here to view and here to listen to Dr. Terry Stoops discussing this Spotlight report.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  “If taxpayers want North Carolina to be economically competitive, then they must not believe state education officials who call our system a model of excellence — despite clear signs to the contrary,” Stoops added. “A truly outstanding public school system would not require nearly two out of three new community college students to enroll in a remedial English, reading, or math class. Rather, those students should graduate high school with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in any post-graduate endeavor they choose.”

RALEIGH — Enrollment in North Carolina community college remedial courses grew at a faster rate than the state’s public school graduation rate in a recent two-year period. The John Locke Foundation’s top education expert argues in a newSpotlight report that the numbers suggest school graduation standards remain “alarmingly low.”

“On the surface, North Carolina’s increasing graduation rate appears to signal a systematic improvement in our public schools,” said report author Dr. Terry Stoops, JLF Director of Education Studies. “In fact, State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison suggested as much during the latest state budget debate. He disputed the notion that North Carolina’s public education system is broken. Instead Harrison cited the rising graduation rate while calling our education system a model for states across the country.”

“But quantity is not the same as quality,” Stoops added. “As public school districts have continued to increase their graduation rate, they have done so at the expense of providing graduates with basic literacy and math skills.”

Stoops focused his research on increases in both public school graduation rates from 2007 to 2009 and enrollment in state community college remedial courses in the following school years. “The state’s four-year graduation rate grew by 2.3 percent during that time period, from 69.5 percent to 71.8 percent,” Stoops said. “At the same time, enrollment in community college remedial classes — also known as “Developmental” classes — increased by an even faster rate.”

By 2009-10, more than one-half of students newly enrolled in a North Carolina community college took a remedial math course, while nearly 40 percent enrolled in a remedial English course. “In sum, 64 percent of new community college students enrolled in one or more remedial courses, a 7 percent increase from the 2007-08 school year.” (more…)



Saturday, August 20th, 2011
CAROLINA JOURNAL – A monthly journal of news, analysis and opinion from the John Locke Foundation (A conservative think tank located in Raleigh)


RALEIGH     North Carolina

Approaches Abound About How to Ensure Adequate Water Supply
Coercive government methods vie with free-market methods

By Sara Burrows
Associate Editor

North Carolina does not have
adequate water supplies to
support anticipated population
growth over the next 30 years, the
General Assembly’s Environmental
Review Commission reports. Lawmakers,
academics, and industry leaders
are scrambling for solutions. Everyone
agrees water is scarce. What they don’t
agree on is what to do about the scarcity.
At a water sustainability symposium
held July 14 at North Carolina
State University, environmentalists and
leaders in the irrigation, landscaping,
and agricultural industries suggested
government incentives and mandatory
to get people to save water.
Free-market economists say that strategy
is the wrong approach. They say
prices, rather than government regulations,
should determine water use.

Consumers queried
North Carolinians would rather
face mandatory water-use restrictions
than pay higher prices, said Barbara
Fair, a horticulture professor at N.C.
State. She drew those conclusions from
a survey conducted by the university.
Water customers were asked
whether they would prefer a $20
monthly increase in their water bills
to outdoor watering restrictions. More
than three of five respondents — 62
percent — chose restrictions. From
this, Fair concluded, “The vast majority
of people do not want to be charged
higher prices.”
Fair noted that “watering restrictions
did not seem to reduce water
use,” but still said restrictions were
preferable to price increases.
Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg,
said the survey results were
not surprising. “People tend to think
the restrictions are going to hit somebody
else,” she said. Or those surveyed
may have been thinking of more innocuous
water restrictions “like low-flow
showerhead and low-flow toilet and
other conservation measures, the kind
people don’t notice as much
. That’s
usually where they start — requiring
[new] fixtures and retrofits,” she said.
But as North Carolinians experienced
during the 2008 drought, watering
restrictions can turn into “water
police,” resulting in fines
when people
water their lawns or wash their cars
during restricted periods. And if conservationists
had their way, per-household
maximums would be imposed on
water users.


Monday, June 13th, 2011
June 13, 2011 –
Carolina Journal Exclusive

Government Jobs Untouched by the Great Recession
By Don Carrington
RALEIGH — Public sector employment levels in North Carolina have been stable since the start of the recession in December 2007. It would take a loss of 63,000 government jobs to match the nearly 9 percent net loss that has occurred in the private sector during that time.

John Hood’s Daily Journal

Flashback: Newspeak on Immigration
The next time you see a newspaper or TV station refer to “undocumented workers,” you may properly conclude that it is no longer practicing journalism.


6.13.11 – Perdue vetoes budget, says it moves NC backward

6.13.11 – GOP plows through agenda

6.13.11 – Perdue has more vetoes in mind

6.13.11 – Budget’s constitutionality disputed

6.13.11 – N.C. House Speaker Tillis gives his staff fat raises




Thursday, June 9th, 2011
June 09, 2011 –
Carolina Journal Exclusive

Feds Push for National Vehicle Mileage-Based Tax
By Karen McMahan
RALEIGH — Critics of a vehicle mileage-based tax note that boosting the cost of driving might push more commuters into public transit — a goal of the administration and advocates of a “smart growth” urban planning agenda.

John Hood’s Daily Journal

GOP Picks Penalty Over Play
It would have been better for Democrats to work out a compromise on voter ID. Republicans will be happy to replay this down, again and again.


6.09.11 – NC House passes new abortion rules, waiting period

6.09.11 – House targets funding of NC teacher advocacy group

6.09.11 – GOP legislators push weaker enviromental rules


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