An economic storm, that is. While several town boards, Congressman Mike McIntyre, many area residents, and now state legislators in Raleigh have expressed skepticism about the proposed new port near Southport, some still believe the project is worthwhile. WECT reports on one such group:
“We have some mad longshoreman at this time,” said Henry Rose, the President of the International Longshoreman’s Association of Southport. “I’m surprised and I’m mad really.”
He’s mad that Congressman Mike McIntrye has thrown up his own do not enter sign, and even more upset that his fellow longshoreman can’t find work.
Henry said he gets a handful of union applications every day from people who have had their sights set on a job at the future port. He said those jobs will pay $40-$50,000 per year, and include both labor and administrative positions.
Henry said most of the hopeful applicants are right out of high school or college.
“They will lose everything if this port doesn’t get here and give them some work,” said Henry.
It’s unfortunate, really, that someone has snowed the longshoremen into thinking that the Southport project would have ever been a viable competitor to the likes of Charleston and Norfolk.Read full article » 1 Comment »
The Jacksonville Daily News offers words of praise for the North Carolina Senate committee that stripped taxpayer-funded campaigns out of its long-awaited ethics legislation. But it’s not as though the committee majority did it out of principle. From the editorial:
Originally, the Democratic majority on the committee and in the Senate was prepared to barrel ahead and require North Carolinians to pay for political consultants, advertisements and campaign circulars for Council of State candidates.
They changed their mind after the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group based in Raleigh, started sending out recorded phone calls attacking the campaign finance provision in the bill. The recordings were made by former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor in 2008.
The new scheme would have been paid for by increases in filing fees that new businesses would have to pay in order to start a business. McCrory labeled those increases as taxes.
He did a good job at connecting the dots to show that after lawmakers increased taxes by $1 billion last year, they were again about to increase taxes for new businesses.
Now that the campaign financing provision has been stripped from the bill, we can focus on the measures that were overshadowed, some of which are quite good.
Agreed.Read full article » No Comments »
Studies show that political “incentives” for the film industry don’t create jobs. Worse, these counterproductive bribes “end up being a drag on state budgets,” according to an article in the June 2010 Civitas newspaper Capitol Connection by Brian Balfour and John Eick.
N. C. General Assembly Democrats supported by Gov. Perdue continue to give large tax breaks favoring Big Film—adored and coddled here in River City. Unlike manufacturing industries Willywood creates mostly the illusion of value added to our economy. It’s more about feelings than substance; problem is, already economically stressed taxpayers must pick up the tab.
Senate Bill 943 passed last year expands tax credits to Big Film by an estimated $50-60 million over several years. If House Bill 713 passes this session, North Carolina taxpayers will pay for a projected revenue gap totaling about $100 million every year.
The proper way for our legislative Heroes to provide incentives to businesses is to reduce spending and lower taxes on all businesses—in this case, by at least $100 million. Instead they choose to shift the burden to the rest of us.
So, why would our political Heroes vote for incentives, especially those who have called themselves “conservative”? We should ask the local Republican representatives that question. Reps. Carolyn Justice, Danny McComas and Frank Iler voted with most House Democrats (only 3 voted against) to expand film credits in SB 943. Will they also shift more taxes on us by voting for HB 713?Read full article » 1 Comment »
New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield has declared to Wilmington Star-News reporters that on spending and stewardship of taxpayer’s money, the government has “done a pretty good job.” Really? That’s like BP officials saying they’ve done a pretty good job of containing the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon pipe. Taxes, government spending and oil spills are neither pretty nor good.
Both city and county operatives have raised taxes, but “we did cut some,” says Mayor Saffo. Mr. Barfield says we’re not realistic to expect the county government “won’t cost more.” Oh? That should make us feel better.
While nearly 10 percent of private workers here are unemployed, citizens must cut back on spending and home foreclosures increase, our government agents blame “debt and the economy” for their lack of frugality. Yes, they have “cut some,” but not nearly enough.
Government projects, such as the convention center, Front St. improvements and bike trails continue unabated. Airlie Gardens has a new butterfly house, museums and libraries have felt little pain, subsidized golfers play on the city course, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is deep in debt and empty WAVE buses prowl the streets.
In addition, state government is “pulling from the same resource,” says Wilmington Councilwoman Kristi Tomey. That “resource” would be resident’s hard-earned and decreasing incomes.
State meddling to force us into unnecessary lifestyle changes—“the cost of implementing energy-efficient programs and renewable energy investments”—raises our electric bills. The N. C. Department of Insurance manipulates and mandates to insurance companies resulting in higher costs than we would pay in a free market.
A UNCW public affairs professor—another highly paid government employee—remarks that “added costs to homeowners is a sign that local governments are trying to maintain service levels and government jobs.” You betcha.
Most of our representatives make excuses and assign blame. Few express concern about excessive spending. Commissioner Ted Davis said, “it just doesn’t set right” with him. Yes, Mr. Davis, it doesn’t seem right to many of us either.Read full article » 1 Comment »
The Brunswick Beacon editorializes in favor of consistency in North Carolina’s laws on gambling:
If the state is going to continue to allow gambling through the lottery, it makes sense video gaming be allowed and regulated. Otherwise gambling should be abolished altogether.
Frank Iler, who represents Brunswick County in the state House, said he would need to see the bill before he can form an opinion on it. He questions the constitutionality of banning or taxing the businesses since the state has made the lottery legal.
I agree about the need for consistency — but my view is that the state should stay out of the gambling business altogether. It shouldn’t run it, prohibit it, or punitively tax it. More here.Read full article » No Comments »
The final budget agreement between the NC House and Senate will be voted on today. It does not include funds for a feasibility study of the proposed new port near Southport:
Proponents and opponents of the International Terminal have been awaiting word on whether the state would help pay for the $10 million study, a next step in the lengthy port development process for the N.C. State Ports Authority. Port advocates say the study would provide details that will give officials a better picture of the economic and environmental impacts of the port as they decide how to proceed. Opponents say they know enough already and have urged state lawmakers not to spend roughly $5 million on the study as the state struggles to balance its budget.
Yes, it’s already apparent that the port project doesn’t make sense, as Carolina Journal readers have known for weeks now.Read full article » 1 Comment »
The latest “E-News Alert” from New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield proclaims his joy “to serve.” He takes this position “very seriously.” Mr. Barfield is a true believer—in unlimited government. Operating under a humble concept he calls “Servant Leadership” and the “principles that flow from that,” his mission involves “Serving the Needs of Others”; nice for missionary work, but that’s not the role of government.
Government officials have the power to regulate our lives and take our property. We, the people, should take that seriously. We must keep that power under tight control.
Opening the Pandora’s Box of “Needs of Others” exposes all of us to the plague of misguided and costly policies. They lead to restricting our individual liberties. They take our earnings and distribute private property to others that a handful of politicians and bureaucrats decide should share it.
Expanding government to “Serving the Needs of Others” carries us into the deep, shark-infested waters of “wants”—defined as unnecessary desires. They are infinite.
Last year county government adopted a budget to spend nearly $1.3 million on museums, $3.7 million on libraries and $15.4 million on recreation and parks, including $970,000 for Airlie Gardens. About $2 million was spent on the “Senior Resource Center.” More than $2 million was given to “non-county agencies.” Nearly 8 percent of the FY 2009-2010 budget serviced debt. We now owe more than $50 million. County spending costs every person living here more than $2,000.
Of course, the rationale used by statists tells us that this is a small price to pay for improving our “quality of life.” They never account for how few benefit at the expense of many others. Nor do they reveal that many of these economically counterproductive government “public services” compete unfairly with private businesses.Read full article » No Comments »
That’s the conclusion of a Jacksonville Daily News editorial calling for legislative action to reform North Carolina’s annexation laws, which give municipalities the power to do pretty much whatever their officials want. Other states do fine with a more restrained annexation policy that gives the affected citizens the right to vote:
In this conflict between affected citizens and holders of power in North Carolina’s municipalities, senators should listen to the citizens. They should, in what we hope are the waning days of the 2010 General Assembly, codify this right to self-determination and at a minimum require a referendum of affected citizens before allowing a city to continue with involuntary annexation procedures.
David should win this 21st century battle against Goliath too.
Daren Bakst, director of legal and regulatory policy studies at JLF, had more to say about North Carolina annexation reform here and here:Read full article » No Comments »
The candidates for U.S. Senate, I mean. During the first post-primary debate at the NC Bar Association meeting in Wilmington, Republican incumbent Richard Burr and challengers Elaine Marshall for the Democrats and Michael Beitler for the Libertarians all bashed Washington — the very place in which they want to live and work.
You can watch a bit of it at the News 14 Carolina site, where you’ll also find this exchange:
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The candidates were then asked six questions from the panel of media members, which included News 14 Carolina senior political reporter Loretta Boniti. The questions ranged from immigration to campaign finance reform.
Boniti asked about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and whether drilling should be allowed off the North Carolina coast.
In response, Marshall said, “I’m angry about it and I’m glad to see our president becoming angry because it’s a concern not just of the fish but of the fishermen and their families down there.”
“Do we want safety? Absolutely, but we also have to be concerned about, this is a complex issue, is a knee-jerk reaction to shut down the wells and put 150,000 people out of work,” Beitler said.
Burr’s answer, “I’ve always said it should be up to North Carolinians to decide whether we explore off North Carolina. The only federal issue in the game is whether we share royalties with them.”
I’m impressed. Frederick H. Fisher Jr. writes in a letter to the Wilmington Star-News about “ill advised” financial relationships between environmental groups and government. He calls them “unwarranted.” Yes. They have no justification; they’re groundless.
Preservation groups want “conservation easements” to lock up more private and public park land. Mr. Fisher dubbed this, “the absurd notion of protecting man’s environment from evil man.” That’s what cynical preservationists think of humanity. According to their religion we have only morally bad intent in developing our land resources. Who are they to judge that?
As Fisher wisely (and creatively) writes” “land easements put the productive value of property in doubt like a hand from the grave on the living.” Spooky, but true.
Preservationists in the environmental cemetery of bad ideas seek opportunities, such as the Airlie Gardens “vine”—“choking to death the taxpayers of the county”—to put their chains around more and more of our productive land. Their agenda seeks to nullify the economic value of private and public property. Fisher calls this tactic “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Our government officials should not be making deals with, or using taxpayer’s money to fund, predatory groups such as the Nature Conservancy and the Coastal Land Trust. They prey on the best interests of our citizens for their own selfish purposes.Read full article » No Comments »