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Carolina Journal Radio No. 825: Cooper sets out priorities in State of the State speech

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2019 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 825: Cooper sets out priorities in State of the State speech

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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March 11, 2019 12:00 am

Gov. Roy Cooper outlined his priorities for the 2019 legislative session during his recent State of the State address. Cooper pushed for Medicaid expansion, a statewide school construction bond, and higher pay for public school teachers. The Democrat Cooper also talked about seeking bipartisan solutions. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes Cooper’s remarks and the response from Senate Republican leader Phil Berger. Freedom of religion is the first freedom spelled out in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It’s also the fundamental freedom that faces some of the strongest attacks in today’s America. Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association, assessed ongoing challenges to religious freedom during a recent presentation at N.C. State University. Besides Gov. Cooper, top N.C. House leaders have expressed interest in a state school construction bond. Leading state senators have put forward an alternative plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, recently explained that the Senate plan would devote more money to school construction, available more quickly, and without incurring $1.2 billion in interest payments linked to a bond. Partisans like to bicker over whether Republicans or Democrats are more charitable. Richard Clerkin, director of the Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State University, looks beyond the partisan spin to focus on the relationship between political competition and charitable giving. Debate over state government’s role in local school construction is likely to take up much of the General Assembly’s time this year. While Cooper and leading House Republicans back a bond, Senate leaders prefer their pay-as-you-go alternative. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, weighs pros and cons of the alternative approaches.

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From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio why Michiko got during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. Religious freedom is the first freedom spelled out in the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. But a recent NC State University speaker explained that freedom of religion faces continual attacks in today's America.

The level of political competition in a community can have an impact on the level of charitable giving. That's one of the more interesting findings in recent research from NC State Institute for nonprofits. The governor and statehouse leaders of offered public support for statewide school bond with Senate leaders of unveiled an alternative. It's designed about $2 billion to school construction without incurring new debt.

You learn details. You also hear expert analysis of both proposals. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline, Gov. Roy Cooper's estate of the state address hit on policy proposals that he's been advocating for many months now. Things like expanding Medicaid by about half a million people or so and spending more money on teachers and K-12 education. Now with the legislature back in session and the next estate operating budget being written as we speak. The question that faces North Carolina now is whether or not the governor is sending the state down the right path.

Becky Gray is senior vice president for the John lock foundation. She follows all of these issues at the legislature very closely and joins us now to talk about the governor's views on back welcome back. Thanks, Donna in listening and reading the governor's estate of the state address was rather interesting. He seems to come down clearly based on my ear and my read to expanding state government absolutely you know he talked about the team was determined and as I listen to the speech.

It seemed to me that he is determined for more dependency on government. In almost every issue that he brought up it was almost like a pat on someone's head on the citizens of North on his hip.

Don't worry will take care of you, whether it's Medicaid expansion.

Whether it's hurricane recovery, whether it is education, whether it is school construction school facilities on transportation school safety you know any of those things that was kind of been a trust may and will take care of this for you. The contrast with that was Sen. Berger's response where Sen. Barbara talked about opportunity and opening up opportunity for North Carolinians unit. I think you're exactly right. If there was theme and you really solve the clear division of the different ways of approaching the problems that and the challenges that face our state from the governor's viewpoint government will take care of it. Not quite sure who's gonna pay for that. That was the kind of the big question at the end of the image in the budget.

You know, as he went through that second kept adding up things in my head and thinking you know we're looking at a huge tax inquiries or huge transfer of money around the state.

If he's gonna do all these things for real.

And then when you heard Sen. Barbara talk about opening up opportunities.

Continuing with the tax reforms, the regulatory reform the investments in government on to allow people to pursue the opportunity in their drawings theory very different vision, North Carolina, and speaking of that very different vision and we heard once again from Gov. Cooper calling for an expansion of Medicaid health insurance program that was originally designed to help widows and and the poor Becky he wants to add about half a million North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls. There appears to be on support for that growing in the state of North Carolina. But once again, Sen. Berger would have a different viewpoint on that absolutely and unite Donna up at have listened gone back and listen in and check the transcript and what we could percent wise. He's going to expand Medicaid health insurance and again to your point.

This was a program that was developed in the 1930s under the Social Security act that was designed as a social safety net for aged disabled or pregnant women and children to give them a hands up in getting back on there for going through hard times are helping providing that social safety net if you will, how far we come in all these years, you know, today we have the governor of the night largest state proposing that were going to expand Medicaid to Inc. include health and shut, providing health insurance to most of those 500,000 people Donna are able-bodied childless working age adults said this is a completely different vision of what Medicaid was designed for. Also very expensive and at think that her Gov. Cooper site. When the cost North Carolina downtime. Now I'm not sure if I'm not sure how that's possible in a gas. There is a commitment from the federal government to pay a portion of this and other states have done this, you know, other states gotten in financial trouble. Other states have signed that their estimates going into it were way lower than what it ended up costing them.

There's also no guarantee that the federal government is going to continue to pay for the ask and let me just remind everybody of two things. Number one, the federal government gets their money from taxpayers. Those of us right here in North Carolina and you know coming up here on April 15 when Robin redefined with most federal tax returns. It's a reminder that on the other thing is the federal government is trillions of dollars in income will do you think they're gonna be able to keep these things afloat. The other thing that concerns me that his Medicaid expansion proposal. Aside from again.

It's adding 500,000 at least able-bodied childless working age adults. It also is a program that the the very way that it's managed is going to road transition here North Carolina moving to a managed care model that we still can't figure out is this the best way to provide those services. Are we going to be able to have services for everybody was on Medicaid today, much less add all these other folks and this just seems like to be a very expensive very unproven, but one that I guess sounds good on the campaign trail.

You have free stuff or every body know your point about the Medicaid undergoing this big transition of how services are provided in, and things like that. We don't yet know there are benefits to making that change, or if it turns out that maybe it was the wrong way to do something so it seems like trying to add a bunch of people to the system when it's undergoing such a transformation just is asking for it. At the very least, questions if not done what you do is you put those people again going back to what this program was designed for four aged, disabled, pregnant women, yet we've talked a lot in the governor mentioned in his remark to that the opioid crisis.

We have a lot of people who have severe drug addiction who were receiving services through Medicaid when you start adding on to that program, to the tune of half a million additional people and again the sort of different population. What that does is it puts is very fragile. People that are on Medicaid now really in danger of whether or not we can be able to provide those services at the same quality have that access to care that again.

The people that were designed to receive Medicare this what Medicaid Medicaid I'm sewing it.

That doesn't mean that you know there there is not certainly an argument, a challenge to making sure that people can afford health insurance. There's a lot of things that are happening will see if the governor supports this kind of stuff. He didn't talk about it the other night at think Phil Barker mentioned it, but things like where small business associations could come together and design insurance products that would be more affordable that people can afford.

Can people can choose and have options in the health insurance that it fits best for their particular situation for their family begin to looking at ways to lower the cost of healthcare through telemedicine repealing certificate of Nate scope of practice revising some supervisory burdens that we have in North Carolina. It is a full menu of things that we can start looking at, which I believe in, and many of us on the right side of things, figuratively and literally. I will say unit took to lower the cost of healthcare so that health insurance is more affordable so that people can afford their insurance rather than depending on government Becky and want to make sure we talk about to Gov. Cooper's the comments in the state of the state about K-12 education in North Carolina. He was advocating for more teacher pay more spending on education. And as I was listening and then went back in and read his comments. I thought we have seen increases in spending and teacher raises for multiple years in a row.

Apparently he thinks that's not enough, and there is a questioning you how much is a good teacher and a classroom were thumbing in my view there worth their weight in gold. And we should look at paying teachers. Well, we should look at paying good teachers well and giving them opportunities to advance in their career in the classroom, not moving into administrative positions that unit limiters remind folks number one teachers of gotten five consecutive pay increases under Republican leadership, and there were promises made last year that this year in this budget that teacher pay would be increased to an average of $55,000 a year and so teachers can look for another pay increase this year that he grant you, thank you, Donna, stay with us much more Carolina radio come in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices. Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina journal imprint each month and on the web each you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics.

No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina. John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public event set Carolina and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina journal radio imprint on the air and on the web. You can find the information you will go back to Carolina journal radio why Mitch coca debates about religious freedom of generated plenty of headlines in recent years. In our next guest is been watching these debates very closely. Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with the Catholic Association. She recently spoke at NC State University. The theme first freedom, religious liberty, and the constitutional book program.

Thanks for having me. So the title says something that's very important. First, freedom, religious freedom really is the first one that spelled out in the Bill of Rights. It also seems to be one that faces quite a number of attacks doesn't absolutely, you know, I think it's important to note that the founders made it the first freedom that they address the Bill of Rights because if you read the founders on the topic. They believed that religious freedom actually precedes the state. It's an inalienable right to comes from God.

It's something that the state doesn't give you. It's there to protect and therefore they can't take away.

But you're right, that especially in the last 10 years there's been a real erosion of respect for religious liberty as a principal.

Increasingly I see the phrase appear in scare quotes as if it's a fake concept. So an uptick in cases all around the country related to religious liberty. One of the cases that generated quite a few headlines in the past year or so involved with the Baker was compelled to make a cake for same-sex marriage said no life, religious beliefs, bid me from doing this was taken to court. Lost at the state level with the Supreme Court ended up saying that he was. It was true that he should not have to bake this cake, but seem to open the door the further challenges of this type could be made. I think we should expect that they well and I think that's because what's really started to happen in recent years is a creep of this idea that religion is something that's only private something that exists in the four walls of your church or in the four walls of your home, but it's something you check at the door when you go to work at something that doesn't belong in the public square.

And that's a real move away from what the founders intended and what that ends up doing is resulting in direct violation of conscience rates, which is what we saw in the case of Jack Phillips and will were starting to see in a lot of other cases I mean there is another big Supreme Court case this past term that related to pregnancy centers, most of which are run by faith-based organizations in a one of them actually in a basement. One of the plaintiffs in the basement in a Catholic Church where they were being forced to advertise for abortion in direct violation of the religious beliefs of those running the center so that's just another example, you reference the founders remind us what did the founders see as the rule of religion in our society and the public square. Sure well I think first of all, the founders viewed religion as an extension of property rights. In fact, Madison call it the most sacred property one's conscience so they they viewed it as an essential an inalienable right.

As I said, something that precedes the state. I'm secondly they viewed religion as an essential bulwark for liberty on the founders were explicit all of them in in in stressing that freedom cannot exist without religion there to strengthen the virtue that some needed to maintain a free society, and finally the founders recognize that religious pluralism is inherent to human nature that were not going to see religious uniformity. That's why they were opposed to a national established church and they set up a system that left room for diversity, which is why we today have the most religious, religiously pluralistic country in the world. We are speaking with Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association also recent speaker at NC State University on the theme. First, freedom, religious liberty in the Constitution we reference the Baker you referenced another case that has been moving through the courts.

What are some of the other typical challenges that we see to religious freedom these days. Well, in my speech identify three areas to watch. One is the area of healthcare where your increasingly seeing healthcare providers being forced to do things that violate their conscience. For example, pharmacists being required to dispense abortion causing drugs or doctors or hospitals that are religious, being forced to cover or perform things like transgender surgeries, so that's a big issue area to watch the second issue area. I would say has to do with public memorials, so there's actually a case that was just granted Sir to the Supreme Court having to do with the World War I cross Memorial large in Maryland and there's a memorials like this all across the country that are memorials to fallen soldiers and whether or not that does memorials content can continue to be displayed in public is being challenged and finally I would say the area of spread of gender ideology. So a big area where you're seeing the clash between sort of the culture and religious liberty has to do with adoption. I'm's. There are several big cases percolating in the country where religious adoption agencies are basically being forced to shut down or violate their religious tenets when it comes to placing children with same-sex couples so that's another area to watch some people listening to us a bigger problem themselves well all all these are signs of evolving society changing morays. We should, why should we let religion stand in the way of these various schools.

Why is it important to protect peoples religious freedom not force them to go with what is now politically correct will first of all, religion is inherent to human nature that is my mentor shamus Hassan who founded the Becket fund for religious liberty is to put it were all born with their eyes fixed on the horizon. Sensitive natural test to want to pursue each in our own way on the dictates of our conscience and and faith in different ways. It doesn't mean that everybody is religious and I'm well aware that there are a lot of atheists in this country but then it's important that we be able to coexist to coexist with each other as different faith groups and also with those who disagree with us. I think it's important to recognize that disagreeing is not necessarily discrimination that you can disagree with someone about you know the meaning of marriage.

For example, and not be discriminating against them, but I think that religious liberty is foundational to any good, free society, and plenty of studies have shown that religious liberty also acts as a bulwark for other freedoms as well. Economic freedoms, women's rights, things like that and people who defend religious freedom. I've never heard anyone who says they will use religious freedom to stand in the way of something that someone else wants is basically don't. Don't force me to have to do something that violates my conscience. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stand in the way of your beliefs and I think that's a common misperception that people who are asking for religious freedom who are wanting to obey their conscience are trying to prevent somebody else from no accessing what's known rightfully, their freedom, but no I mean I think it it's important to go back to the wording of the Constitution itself is about the free exercise of religion and that that's something it's very much an individual liberty. I mean, there's certainly a collective nature to it, in that, but it's important to remember that religious liberty is a broad and robust freedom.

It's one that entails and touches on a lot of other aspects of life. It entails religious attire and tile entails speech and expression. It entails the ability to construct a house of worship, so it's it's a freedom that intertwines with a lot of other different civil liberties will certainly a very important topic and the topic at NC State University was titled first freedom, religious liberty in the Constitution, the speaker at our guest, Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association thinks of what you don't think you will have on Carolina journal radio. If you have freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina it's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom

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Support the John Locke foundation will go back to Carolina journal radio why Michiko got does North Carolina need a statewide school construction bond Senate leaders don't think so.

Majority leader Harry Brown describes an alternative. It would shift more money to the states capital and infrastructure fund for one half a percent of the general fund tax revenue is the real total to 4.5% of each view will also go to one third of the capital and maintenance for oil spills one third to humans and community colleges and one third to state ages.

This will result in a little over $2 billion for each category over the next nine years. Why is this better that a bond we agree with our colleagues elsewhere in government capital is a priority which is think that our plan is the right way to go because it dedicates more money faster.

Nonpartisan physical research division crunch the numbers based on the affordability advisory committee's most recent here's what I $1.9 billion bond will cost 1.3 billion in interest payments over the next 30 years. Bring the total span of 3.1 third spending 3.1 billion 1.9 billion might be necessary if there were alternatives. We feel like we all are good. Bill dedicates a little over $2 billion with zero interest by provides the full funding over just nine years, compared to 10 years they would vote for Bob under the affordability advisory committee's recommendation. The bottom line is the building north a lot of future provides more money to schools also studied lifts and delivers the funding faster than a bit of finance Banda's in our plan starts delivering phones in 2019 years earlier that of all counties can start addressing their school When the denial rather than what does this mean the Senate is more averse to taking on new debt like asparagus but also you can see with the other player will bond later talk about over billion dollars in interest were with this plan, you don't have any of so allows you to spend more money where you want to. If the economy turns self will the money dried up solo priorities and I think all of you know when you start budget process. You got a certain amount of availability and use of those priorities and we think this is a priority to support all across the county. In this study that would tell you that I need capital projects freshman faith report that's state Senate majority leader Harry Brown is discussing an alternative to a proposed $2 billion state school construction bond will return with more Carolina journal radio animal where doubling down on freedom at Carolina to radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet.

And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes headlock is a little bit different. It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right light. Carolina journal radio headlock is smart and timely but with headlock you'll hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well.

We guarantee great information and a good time to double down with us. Listen to Carolina Journal radio each week and listen to Hadlock to remember, you can listen to or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertain both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation. Welcome back Carolina journal radio why Michiko got there is an ongoing debate in politics was more generous to donates more money to charitable causes, Republicans or Democrats. North Carolina State University professor Richard clerk and doesn't offer a simple answer, but he and his colleagues at the Institute for nonprofits are conducting research. It sheds light on the issue. One of things that were doing with our research is to try to look at the relationship between how we tax ourselves and what impact that has on our philanthropy.

In addition to what this what is going on with with the political competition and ideology. So what does the research say about Republican versus Democratic charitable contributions.

The literature is a little bit unsettled about who is more and people uses were generous, generous once again is a long term use, giving most of the data that the people have its who gives more donations, Republicans or Democrats that since part of that ideological fight that goes on artworks and others point to some research that says Republicans want to control for lots of things tend to be more generous than Democrats will feel that others will say that Democrats are or more generous and a lot of it has to do with where the data are coming from and the types of sources that people are using. And finally there some work by poor service and on his inset says well it's horrible and there were building off of their work with. They've done is they've looked at giving across the 50 states and controlling for tax burden, controlling for cost-of-living and and lots of other things when they start ranking which states give higher amounts relative to the adjusted gross income that gets done that truly mix. There are some states that are that are due blue that are high up on the listener.

Some are deep red. Help us with their time say that there's a lot more complicated story than just Republican versus Democrat when it comes to understanding how much people give clerk and turned to his own research he started with one finding that should surprise no one. One of the things that we see in terms of tax burden, the greater the proportion in the county that votes Republican. The lower the tax burden. This is not an unexpected finding that we that we have here was a little more injury especially over controlling for that is what goes on with donations and really what's what's from the policy perspective from someone who cares about philia cares about philanthropy or counties that voted closer to 50-50 across those presidential elections are the ones that tended to donate the least that's it's used a professor Richard clerk and of the Institute for nonprofits.

He spoke recently to the John Locke foundation's Shaftesbury society. He just told the audience that charitable donations tend to be lower in areas with the closest political competition. Why might that be true. If I think about sort of some theories of the nonprofit sector. This is necessarily surprising so Lester Solomon talks about sort of the failures theory of the nonprofit sector that that the reason why we have governments is because philanthropy and nonprofits of voluntary sector isn't able to to meet all the needs of the folks we talked about there being four types of philanthropic voluntary sector failures. One is philanthropic insufficiency.

If we look across our history. We tend to donate about 2% of GDP. No matter where we are in our economic cycle, or no matter what our text.

What are tech structures 2% of GDP plus or minus a couple of 10th Centinela $19 trillion economy a couple of intense percent real money but but overall were not if we're voluntarily giving and we think we did more than 2% of GDP to accomplish or or broader public purposes. It's not to come only from philanthropy. Second problem is the failure of philanthropic particularism 60 to 70% of philanthropy is worth refer to conflict being the case in point, but donations is referred to as consumption, philanthropy we give to those nonprofits for services we use houses of worship universities GOPAC please make a donation to the Institute session for all we give to hospitals or disease organizations that are family members have been affected by 60 per 7% of our philanthropy goes to those nonprofits who services we there are a couple of other so-called philanthropic failures.

There's the philanthropic paternalism is another sort about the moralizing history of what philanthropy is through that idea of the rich doing work folly philanthropic amateurism given most of the work in the nonprofit sector is what we were traditionally called women's work tends not to be well compensated and historically it has not been through what are professionally run. So the cost of these limits. The philanthropic sector philanthropy can take care of things on its own and part of what's going on down here. If we are living in communities where half the people don't think like we do with giving less were more likely to give money when we when we sorted into counties were more people at least think politically like like we do. So this is a potentially little bit of a of a concerning finding that we have we have going on here. Richard clerk of North Carolina State University's Institute for nonprofits says the research yields.

Some other interesting takeaways.

Overall Republican leaning counties do seem on average holding else. All else equal donate at relatively higher levels than non-done the non-Republican leaning counties.

Overall, total wealth redistribution is higher Democratic reading counties.

What about that finding the charitable contributions go down in areas with hot political competition is a little bit concerning the Savior political competition being in those mixed communities right. That means right were potentially engaging less with folks to solve our problems. Carolina journal radio asked clerk, and whether there's any link between the amount of money flowing to charity, and the amount of money flowing to political campaigns, especially in these hotly contested areas with 50-50 ideological splits requested. I have no idea that I don't know. I don't know the data and to answer that question. So there's a couple of other limitations you one is we don't know about political giving that would be really interesting to see how it goes on at the county level.

We also can separate out secular versus religious giving we can control for religiosity in the county so there's there's a lot of noise going on that we can't quite sort of drill down to answer the question, but it's it's really it's an interesting insight can find the right data and we could look at it clerk and says there's no one-to-one link between giving and tax rates.

Giving isn't just rational responses to attack structure their emotional reasons for doing and there are normative civic duty.

Reasons for and we need to think about that full panoply of motivations for people to be publicly into being. Donating and volunteering than just the just the marginal tax rates.

That's why in some notes some there higher rates of volunteering and and giving in Nordic countries, which are also high tax welfare states, so there so that there's not that there's not that there's not that because there's a lot of other stuff that's going on drives how we can how we relate to each other in society. So that leaves clerk and colleagues back to the theory that people who were split ideologically might not want to make charitable donations that end up supporting their political opponents. That's our conjecture at this point, but we haven't done the quote so that's can it take some qualitative work to go in and talk with folks we haven't done that work. So I think you're asking a really good question. We can hypothesize about why that's going on, but we don't know for sure that's North Carolina State University professor Richard clerk and deletes the Institute for nonprofits with more Carolina journal radio with a moment of commitment to truth and transparency in government. That is the mission of Carolina journal and we are proud to deliver and now proud to tell you the North Carolina press Association has honored to members of our team with awards reporting and writing, that's right, we really do deliver award-winning journalism we shine the light on government spending, reveal the truth about boondoggles and dig deep into programs paid for with your tax money.

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Call 1866 JL F INF 04 your free subscription, welcome back to Carolina journal radio Donna Martin asked the state of North Carolina estimates that our state has more than $8 billion worth of immediate school capital needs and Gov. Cooper and Sam and the legislature would like to see and nearly $2 billion school construction bond on the November ballot.

While other lawmakers are more friendly to the idea of using existing funds to pay as we go.

The John Locke foundation's Dr. Terry stoops has been assessing the need and the options going forward. He joins us now to talk about that Terry. Welcome back to the program. Thank you, how pressing are the needs for schools with in terms of facilities across the state will varies in some places they have sufficient facilities and that if they planned ahead to meet their maintenance costs.

The any additions that they need for increasing student enrollment. So there are some districts that are in a fun position. As far as school facilities go. These mainly urban and suburban districts. The rural districts in North Carolina might be a different story. I'm in some of these districts have schools that are very old and so they actually do have actual facilities needs that probably need to be attended to, sooner rather than later, but there isn't sort of one typical need that each county has really varies between needing new construction, additions to current construction or renovations of existing construction. You also been writing about the fact that in many parts of North Carolina people might be surprised to learn this, but enrollment is actually dropping in public schools is rights that would factor into the needs would absolutely because of a lot of special rural districts created small elementary school scattered around the county. Given the difficulties of getting students to school and not forcing them to ride on a bus for an hour and 1/2 every day and so now are coming to a situation of many rural districts where they have small under enrolled elementary schools, scattered across the district and so these are districts that have had to grapple with the difficult choice and it really is a difficult choice of trying to keep these small under enrolled schools open or combining schools and and getting that enrollment in in just a few elementary schools rather than several so that there are a lot of interesting dynamics happening, especially in these rural communities.

And that's just the facilities that they have doesn't really talk about how to pay for. Based on those differences across counties and districts. It would seem to make sense then that the the solution to an individual areas needs is gotta be quite personalized that will be difficult to put together one-size-fits-all answer to this will. That was the idea when the state decided that the counties would primarily be responsible for school construction.

This is nothing new. We have had an arrangement in North Carolina since the 1930s where the state would pick up the majority of expenses for student operating expenses and the counties would take care of the capital expenses they would take care of the school buildings and the maintenance required to keep up with school buildings now in various times through through history in North Carolina. We have had the state step in to provide funds for localities for their school facilities needs but mainly they have relied on generating their own tax funds to pay for the bonds or the other types of debt, student video video County can take out for school construction. So were seeing now an increasing call to change that and have the state play more of a role in school construction, which is much different than what the original designs for how those responsibilities will be handled occurred in the 1930s and in fact, that leads to our discussion that we are now starting to hear him pretty seriously and robustly from members of not only the North Carolina Gen. assembly but were hearing from the governor on this Terry. It seems like the discussion has now boiled down to an either or option to address this, you have the governor and some members of the legislature who say you know what we need a statewide school construction bond needs to go on the ballot. Voters need to say yes or no. You have other lawmakers were saying you know it's probably better idea not to take on debt and let's pay as we go and let's figure out where the needs are. Give us your sense. First of all, is it an either or.

And what are the pros and cons of those two approaches will they don't have to do either certainly and they could save its historically and according to state statute that the counties are primarily responsible for school facilities and they would be well within their rights to do that but legislators on both sides of the own in both chambers have decided that there is something that the state is going to do and that something boils down to the two options that you mentioned the bond of course is something that we've done in North Carolina in the pass a statewide bond for school facilities, we did it in 1996 was the last year that the state provided a bond for school facilities. No, that's not the only thing the state does. It's worth mentioning the gold lottery provides money every year for school facilities so the state is involved in facilities in a certain way, the bond would basically take the idea of putting a votes putting a choice before voters about whether the state can authorize this debt and then if the voters approve then they sell bonds into the open markets to buyers get the money from the buyers and then distribute the funds from the sale of those bonds to school districts. The other option says no, let's not take on debt to do this, but somewhat lawmakers say we got money. Now we can maybe add some money to a fund and let's set pay for this as we go along. Yes, because bonds come with interest and what the Senate is saying that we can avoid $1.2 billion in interest paid to the folks that buy up the bonds and instead do a pay as you go plan. This would provide a dedicated's amount of money each year to be distributed for school capital expenses is an approach that the Senate has really taken on for not just school facilities but state facilities as well. They believe that this is a more responsible plan. The only note that there are downsides to this plan in one of them is that you have to wait till the money comes in. Unlike bonds you can't sell say $300 million in bonds in the open market and get that money. Almost immediately, so this would take time, but it would avoid an enormous amount of interest payments that could be used for other things.

Terry, you wrote a very interesting piece recently for the Greensboro news and record and you really keyed in on what you believe is the key to success going forward. You say there have to be fresh ideas fresh ways of of looking at this situation you brought up an issue of public-private partnerships and that maybe school districts need to think more seriously about that. How would that work well. This will be asking the private sector. What they could do and how they can help and how a relationship between a school district in the private sector can effectively build schools now to overcome some of the issues that we we have with that would require, of course, close oversight of such a part public-private partnership to ensure that no one is getting swindled or anything like that. But we have to start asking the private sector what they can do and we have to start considering what the school districts are willing to accept as far school facilities for years we have operated on what I call a wish fulfillment model school buildings and that's that we have built the school that everyone wishes they had were in a situation now with $8 billion in needs that require us to start rethinking the types of school buildings that we build and I feel like a partnership between the private sector and a school district could help us get to that point where we meet those needs, and perhaps build the school buildings that we need going forward we been talking with Dr. Terry stoops. He is the John Locke foundation's vice president for research Terry, thank you very much that's all the time we have for the program this week on behalf of my cohost Mitch. Okay I'm Donna Martinez. Join us again next week for another edition of Carolina Journal radio Carolina Journal radio is a program of the John Locke to learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina Journal radio send email to development John Locke call 66 jail left 166-553-4636 Carolina Journal radio is the John Locke foundation. Carolina is remarking maintaining an Carolina broadcasting system, Inc. all opinions expressed on this program are solely those not nearly flat for the station formation about the show or other programs and services of the foundation.

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