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January 14, 2019 12:00 am
North Carolina’s individual and corporate income tax rates dropped again on Jan. 1. The personal income tax rate now stands at 5.25 percent, down more than 30 percent from the top marginal rate of 7.75 percent that it was in effect in 2013. North Carolina’s 2.5 percent corporate tax rate is the lowest rate of any states that assess a tax on corporations’ income. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, assesses the significance of the latest tax rate cuts. Negative partisanship plays a significant role in our current political debates. That’s a problem for Jonah Goldberg, American Enterprise Institute scholar and National Review senior editor. Goldberg explains how our political discourse suffers when both Democrats and Republicans support their parties only because they hate the opposite party. State lawmakers looking into a controversial fund tied to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have hired three former federal agents as outside investigators. You’ll hear highlights from the legislative meeting that led legislators to hire the agents. Supporters of electric vehicles tout their environmental benefits. Andrew Yates, professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill economics department, says those benefits are not as clear-cut as advocates suggest. During a recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation, Yates detailed research into the environmental impact associated with electric vehicles. After years of fast growth, enrollment in North Carolina’s largest school system – Wake County – grew by just 42 students in the past year. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, assesses the significance of that slowdown for state and local education policy. That includes the prospects for a statewide public education bond package.
From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest town 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 Martines and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. Negative partisanship has a major impact on today's political debates Jonah Goldberg of national review joins us. He explains why that's bad news for all Americans. State lawmakers of hired outside investigators to look into a controversial fund it's tied to the Atlantic coast pipeline to learn more about the investigators work. Supporters of electric vehicles tell potential environmental benefits, especially for air pollution but you will hear from the UNC Chapel Hill economics professor who challenges their claims. Plus will assess a major enrollment.
Slow down the North Carolina's largest public school system.
What could it mean for state education policy. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline on January 1, North Carolina's income tax rates went down which means that working North Carolinians will keep more of what you learn how to tax cuts are part of a multi-year reform effort by the Republican-led Gen. assembly to overhaul how the state treats taxpayers and also how the state is positioned to attract new people and new businesses. Becky Gray is a senior vice president for the John Locke foundation.
She has been following this multi-year effort very closely and joins us now with the latest Becky welcome back to the program and happy new year happy new year to you to the first component of this new package that went into effect January 1 is is one that isn't unfortunately getting a lot of media coverage, but it's really consequential, and it has to do with something called the zero tax bracket help us understand what you know this is a good guy agree with you. This is one of the most significant things. It's not getting enough attention. This is where people don't pay any taxes. It's a certain percentage of your income that wine off the top you don't pay any taxes on on, we've heard all this top this rhetoric from the laughed about the tax cuts have only been for the rich. It's only for big corporations.
Will this zero tax bracket. An increase in that this is the standard deduction on has increased and this impacts lower income but much more. There are close to 400 Townsend North Carolinians. Under this new plan that goes into effect on January 1.
Who will pay no North Carolina taxes so coming. This is huge. This is huge not only for the lower class, but the middle class and it's one of my significant tax cuts that they had known addition to that, as you mentioned in the introduction. There's a reduction for personal income tax across the board. Also, reduction in the corporate income tax said these weights continue to go down and what we've seen with this, as you mentioned, people get to keep more of their money and what that means as people either put money in savings or die by things. This is what drives the economy and at the same time training in the spending happening at the government level is what has resulted in this economic growth that we say in North Carolina between then the increase in the standard deduction of this zero tax bracket and also then the decline of the personal income tax rates you got a lot of individuals. A lot of families are to have more money in the paycheck and more money.
Once they file their their tax return as well. And yeah, I won't want to. Don't let me just mention real quick that a lot of small companies file under the personal income right so yes, it's families and individuals across without it's all said that small mom-and-pop operations.
This is such a boon to entrepreneurs to small business people we hear all this and this is what makes the big media headlines is Apple, Google these big companies that North Carolina's spending are trying to give away all this money to lure them.
They are these small, small, relatively small tax cuts have tremendous impact on day-to-day businesses on the mom-and-pop businesses on the people that really do make North Carolina's economy Ron and works. I successfully. This type of reform has been going on for a number of years now.
I can think back to when I first moved to North Carolina more than 15, 16 years ago there was a multi tiered really confusing tax structure.
I never understood it.
Frankly, personal income tax why exactly what that is all changed and I'm so there's been a number of different efforts and they just keep coming from the general assembly they do and in advance. Why this last election makes a much difference. That's why it matters who is sitting in those leadership positions at the Gen. assembly. You know, in my view, what we want are fiscally responsible conservative leaders who understand that people who earn the money are in a better position to spend that money and of course we have core functions of government that we want to be funded, but we need to watch those dollars very carefully and we need leaders who understand that the money they're spending is not layers. It doesn't grow on a tray behind Joan's straight belongs to North Carolina's like you and I and so many of our listeners and part of the changes for 2019 involves a reduction in the corporate income tax rate as well and that one is pretty consequential, but I gotta tell you, Becky already there's some pushback in some media venues. They're saying well that's just a giveaway to the rich. All those people who are running us corporations. They don't deserve.
Well let me remind you of the standard deduction. That way the hat unit. That's where that's with those people that make those claims really aren't looking at the entire tax picture the corporate tax rate went from in 2011 we started this that corporate tax rate was 6.9%. One of the highest in the country now. Not every state charges a corporate income tax rate at all, but of those states that do North Carolina's was one of the highest and this is a real impediment for corporations coming to North Carolina.
As we've reduced that we've seen all this economic growth again tied to lots of things reduction regulation, less government smarter government spending on but is that tax rate goes down, it makes it more attractive for companies to come here again started at 6.9% before this most recent reduction. It was 3%.
It now goes down to 2 1/2%, which Donna is the lowest of any corporate tax in the country of states that have a corporate tax that again were a leader and it got a mean then that companies around the country or even around the world who are looking for a place to either expand or to move a headquarters to get their attention.
Exactly. And companies within North Carolina are now able to keep again we talk about with lower personal income tax families being able to keep more of their money. Corporations now are able to keep more than money and make investments in their businesses, whether that's to buy a new computer, whether that's to buy a new delivery truck or, more importantly, whether that stuff on the are a couple more employees and when you have that kind of economic energy that's going on of more people being employed, there's less stress on welfare programs and those kind of things able to take care of themselves and their families because they are working and the reason, whether working is because companies and corporations are providing jobs for them.
All of this is tied together we know as you just reference it. North Carolina's economy has been really coming along for for several years now. If you want a job in North Carolina. In most cases you can find a job. If you've got some some basic skills.
The folks are looking for and with all this tax reform and the economic growth that we've seen in our state it means now that other states are trying to figure out exactly how North Carolina did this but she said something really interesting. A few minutes ago. It's not just tax reform you mentioned the issue of spending working hand-in-hand with this help us understand more about the spin that the 10 X is the revenue that comes this is only half of the equation. It's also will you spend that money on and what other states have done.
The mistake that that nights they haven't gotten that balance right and so and as we have reduce taxes. We have also reined in the growth of government and the spending looking at okay where are the core functions of government that I think we can all pretty much agree government needs to provide public safety education.
Those kind of things.
Healthcare again. Absolutely you do that in the most efficient manner and how you get rid of outdated programs of duplicate of programs.
You make the best use of every federal dollar which is tax money as well make the best use of that you really take a look at how the money is been being spent. You do that in a very effective, efficient light you answer the question. Is this a core function of government. Was this something that the private market perhaps can do and when the private market does it then they create jobs and again you have people employed and less pressure on government services.
So it's all tied together and Donna another piece of this to are the regulations that are in place. What we find. There's been all kinds of economic studies that have shown what the cost of regulation is on businesses on individuals and said really taking a good hard look at that and rolling back those regulations that are a barrier in an impediment.
So when you put that whole formula together and it's not just tax cuts.
It's not just raining in the growth of government really looking at spending by itself. It's not just the removal of regulations. All of that together is what has resulted in North Carolina's transformational economic situation that we have here so much. Thank you stay with us much more Carolina journal radio to 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 journal.com tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina journal in print each month and on the web each firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina journal radio in print on the air and on the web. You can find the information you firstname.lastname@example.org welcome back to Carolina journal radio I'm Ashoka. Some conservatives want to persuade people that they pursue policies that will end up working best for society.
Others just want to fight liberals Jonah Goldberg of national review supports the first group. He joins us now to explain why.
So why not just battle. Our opponents any reasons why you got into the cul-de-sac.
That is what that it did is that it lost sight of this basic understanding of what politics is supposed to be about it supposed to go back to Aristotle it's supposed to be about persuasion about convincing someone that their interests are better served by being a member of your coalition and somebody else. The coalition are currently in, and instead we emphasized purity that we said that if anybody does agree with us entirely. There is squarish or rhino.
We want to start emphasizing purity on the left or the right. You are necessarily pushing away people who might agree with you on a lot and might be members of your coalition.
Reagan used to say. If you agree with me on 7/10 things are my 70% friend are not my 30% and in one of things Reagan tried Reagan did not talk about being a conservative agreement to talk about being Republican very much. He talked about what he believed were universal or at least fundamental American values and try to attract people to his arguments by making arguments and primarily by telling stories to go back and watch Reagan speeches he illustrated his points by just telling stories and poems are hokey and old-fashioned hazardous funny jokes, but in our brains are wired to understand things through stories. Most of our information for most of our time on this planet was conveyed through stories. The Bible is many things, but at its most basic level, it's a bunch of stories. Every important lesson you have in your life as a story attached to an storytelling thing lying on nothing fiction but telling a story. A compelling story that opens people up to where you're coming from, and more importantly where you want to go is a much better way of doing politics than reading off a list of principles and if you say you disagree with any one of the list of anything on my list of principles, but you're a bad person or your trader wrong doesn't really work very well and so much a problem we have in our culture today only in the weeds and romanticism, but it's performative we we shout what we believe. We try to insult others to prove how great we are help you or we are out. We have the right enemies. Are you saying too many people are focusing on just trying to beat the other side.
One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons with my wife, had blown up in frame forming is to dogs at a bar and one dog is the dreaming martinis and one dog says the other. You know it's not good enough the dog succeed.
Cats must also fail and that's the essence of the sword of our tribal politics these days where we become less about winning save as measured by whether or not it's making the opposition lose or feel like losers and that has no limiting principle to it, which is why her politics continually get uglier and uglier because it's sort of like the junk you just need to keep upping the purity of the dose with the quality of the dose we need to constantly mainline more outrage about how terrible the other people are or how unfair their being to us. That's the voice of Jonah Goldberg, Senior editor at national review and scholar at the American enterprise Institute. How does civil society play a role in helping to address this problem with civilization is sort of, by definition, is a system that constrains human nature in positive ways right in our in a natural environment, the way you get what you want is if you have a bushel of apples. I want your apples, you will that will walk.
I take your apples. That's why when the first thing is any civilization worthy of name civilization does is regulate violence because in human nature we see anybody outside of our group is fair game and what civilization does. This is not an elder has to be rules that everybody apply apply to everybody fairly serve the golden rule doing to others. That is what you regulate violence. That's right, we regulate behavior as civilizations advance and mature civilize reset ever higher standards or expectations of human conduct disorder is why I drives me crazy when I hear parents tell their kids just go with your instincts tell kids to go with their instinct that Sally take your khakis and stick into a light socket. You know you the whole point of being a good parent is to teach kids not to go with their instinct. No hitting you let go of your sisters here. That is what we do what we said we civilize the kids or just come with the factory preset programming of human nature and institutions throughout human history have been doing, we get the word nepotism from the Catholic Church means almost literally nephew is him that comes out of the corrupt practice of archbishops and cardinals having affairs writing secret families and giving special jobs or special perks to third "nephews and nepotism is hardwired into us. There's never been society anywhere in human history where people didn't give special preferences to their own offspring, nevermind their family.
The Kinsler friends. Favoritism is natural in but we understand that a functioning society needs the whole that stuff about the Chinese tried it and the Turks tried it by literally greetings taking slaves and castrating them thinking okay will now have no loyalty except to the state or to sultan or whoever is, but it turned out over time that that didn't even work because the boots of the janissaries in the unit.
Bureaucrats formed their own sort of coalition or tribe and conspired against the state. The only real way that you can hold human nature at bay is by civilizing people by teaching people thought right from wrong and when you don't do that human nature comes rushing back in. That's the real source of corruption in life. That's the story of Lord of the flies right notifies of these little kids the pinnacles of Western civilizations little British schoolboy kids boarding school did you drop them off on a deserted island with no adult supervision in like five minutes later the running around spears and warpaint and worshiping some pagan God and try to kill each other every resume. I will like zombie movies and post-apocalyptic pop culture is the second the thin veneer of civilization vanishes or suspends people revert back to human nature to small nomadic bands of tribal people fighting in a zero-sum battle against other nomadic bands or enzymes and in so when we see civil society breakdown because that is where civilization happens right when my favorite quotes comes from on our she says every generation. Western civilization is invaded by barbarians. We call them children and that's what Ronald Reagan said we are never more than one generation away from tyranny abuse were not born with liberty in her blood.
You have to fight for every generation pass it on and we live in a profoundly romantic. Were we tell people the highest source of moral authority, isn't God was usually afraid of, and is always watching you, but your own gut your own instincts stay true to yourself live by your own code and you're a good person and will you teach people on a mass scale that that they are the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. They are their own priests. It becomes much more difficult to get people to have a sense of what is good for the greater good, or to simply just right and wrong. Beyond the utilitarian calculus that says if it's good for me over. Feels good. I'm going to do it. That's Jonah Goldberg, Senior editor at national review and a scholar at the American enterprise Institute is identifying a key problem plaguing American politics today with more Carolina journal radio in a moment. If you love 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 conservative.com it's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom email@example.com. You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina journal.com reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James G. Martin Center for academic renewal, commentary and polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina conservative.com that's North Carolina spelled out conservative.com North Carolina conservative.com. Try it today. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate pass the work foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to assess the John Locke foundation.
So here's how it works lot want to smile.amazon.com Amazon smile. It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices. Here's what's better. Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to pass the John Locke foundation to try it. Be sure to designate the Locke foundation is a nonprofit, you want to support. It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy. You'll also support freedom. Don't forget log on to smile.amazon.com today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation will conduct Carolina journal radio I Mitch coca lawmakers looking into a controversial fund tied to the Atlantic coast pipeline are hiring outside investigators state representative John Torp Mike which is easy for the gentleman with specialty in front of us today. John will you and can you search to present the committee crew. Certainly, that's can we. We can certainly find the facts we get the truth were certainly hopeful. That's what all citizens do is tell us the truth sometimes is not the case and we have to use our experience and follow-up interviews with other individuals to get the truth and facts, but that's our intention is to gather the facts and report those facts and hopefully that's the truth.
State Sen. Harry Brown responded to a question about the investigations cost.
If the governor had come forth with the information that we'd asked for in the past year.
This would cost us nothing and we have been asking over and over.
Now for almost a year and have been completely stonewalled. We got a letter about a couple weeks ago saying that the information requested was coming. And yet we get a letter today that does the exact opposite of what we've been told was going to happen for months now. The exact opposite and is unfortunate because I'm just speaking personally, I don't want have to go here. I think we had to go here. And while this governor continues for now Mr. year to completely ignore our request is beyond me. I just don't understand why he would do and you know you've heard the terms played a plug-in and what's going own and while we asked for those those records if they just produce him. You didn't do the conversation, you would know and yet he has refused over and over and over to produce anything we've not gotten one single request back from the governor in a year, not one and they asked us to do it in writing we did in writing, but we've done everything I've asked us to do and yet completely stonewalled and yet today we get something from him asking for record request from us and we don't will do that and we don't do it in a very timely manner, but again all that tells me this is just another delay tied in this unfortunate is just so unfortunate. We got a be here because it shouldn't cost anything. We should even have these gentlemen here today but the governors driving this trying he has. He has made this this choice for us. Basically that's State Sen. Harry Brown is explaining why he and his colleagues are hiring outside help to investigate a $58 million fund tied to the Atlantic coast pipeline will return with more Carolina journal radio. What about where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal 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 firstname.lastname@example.org/podcast headlock is a little bit different. It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right, like 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 headlock to remember, you can listen to email@example.com/podcast or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation will conduct Carolina journal radio I Mitch coca advocates for electric vehicles argue that there better for the environment than cars fueled by gasoline. Is that true, the answer isn't as simple as you might think Andrew Gates is professor in the economics department, you would see Chapel Hill. He recently discussed the topic with the John Locke foundation's Shaftesbury society. What's the environmental benefit of electric vehicle.
How do we define this well. Suppose you have a person it's about to buy an electric car. They walk into the dealership about my car, walking the dealership method should buy electric car by Gaskell about the consequences that decision for the environment suffered by the gas car generates an air pollution will talk about how we got to buy electric car generates an air pollution from electricity is used to charge a call so we want to just compare those two numbers right see which ones bigger electric vehicle produces less air pollution and gasoline vehicle and that the environment benefit is the difference between us to.
So if you are concerned citizen no no is the selector car goods environment or not you probably do a Google search and if you do that you turn up some stuff followed by the EPA. Or maybe Union of concerned scientists, and most likely that information would be about the carbon dioxide emissions of electric car versus a gasoline, and so that's interesting and will will we will talk about come dioxide emissions as part of emissions from these cars, but is not the whole story.
So generally speaking, this is consistent with our results as well is a slight advantage if you only care about carbon emissions that electric car versus gasoline: what we do in our study is that we focus on these other pollutants are things called local pollutants right carbon dioxide is a global pollutant generally affects everywhere in the world the same way global pollutant really matter where that pollution get submitted, as will see. So these are pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds and so will see here is he really makes a difference where the cars driven how severe these pollutants are and so it can be important because it can reverse the sign rights over just care about carbon electric vehicles lunch on average a little bit better than gasoline jackals.
We can reverse that and I will see we can reverse that significantly.
If we start lying about some of these other pollutants.
Yates used a map to illustrate his point being is places in which an electric vehicle cottage both global pollutant CO2 and local pollutants that I listed as a positive environmental benefit. That means if you're in that store and you end up buying electric car you generate a benefit to society from reduced air pollution emissions. As you can see most of those green places are in the West. The other colors.
The red and the oranges are places where the gasoline vehicle has less air pollution electric vehicle.
So if you purchase electric vehicle you're actually making air pollution works in the gas vehicle he would've bought the map showed benefits mainly in the West with negative consequences in the East Southeast and Midwest. There is a wide disparity in the electric vehicles environmental benefit to a community in Los Angeles. Over the lifetime of the car. Talk about how we model data soon hundred thousand miles driven tenure lifetime electric vehicle generates about $5000 benefit in Fargo North Dakota electric vehicle generates about a $-5000 benefit to society's $5000 worse off because bought electric cart revenue gas car in Fargo North Dakota New York it's been awash with number $32, but that's basically trivial. That's economist Andrew Gates if you would see Chapel Hill he's discussing the potential benefits of electric vehicles for the John Locke foundation's Shaftesbury society. Why does he see such major differences in the different communities, local factors make a big difference when you talk about local pollution. So Los Angeles has a very large population. So when you drive your gasoline car in Los Angeles, reflecting a number of people I just kind of unique air show as well because mounds rings Los Angeles area and the pollution tends to stock in that area and also as will see the Western electricity grid is fairly clean factors single cope power power plant in the state of California delegates electricity from other states, but I think that's premature. Fargo, North Dakota. Skyrocket when you drive your gasoline car in Fargo North Dakota. You don't hurt anyone because nobody lives there. On the other hand, when you plug in your electric car its power predominately by call Chris. It makes sense that the generates a lot of pollution damage not just in Fargo, North Dakota and many other places where the grid is dispersed and emissions disbursement smokestacks. New York is awash as large population but regrets really dirty as well. Yates reminded the audience that better gas powered cars already have produced major environmental benefits. Let's suppose that we have today's fleet of cars driven, in today's places, but they are all 1974 cars polluting my 1974 cars right what would the total damage be due to air pollution evaluated by the exact same methodology. I just explained so many casinos numbers but it turns out to be about hundred $80 worth of damages per year. If we had 1974 cars driving around gasoline cars can see the graph over time 2010.
You can use a clicker were down to about 40 or $50 billion per year is also six or where we start to make progress is obviously a lot of changes around this time.
In late 70s, Reitman's mother. Anything's been pretty flat over the last decade is in very marginal improvements in miles per gallon and were at the point with tailpipe emissions where you get more particulate matter from your tires and brakes and you do from the tailpipe.
Interesting of us is an ex mental decline right. Eventually, some going to start in hard to push on this dimension right so you can see we made fairly dramatic improvements by our measures of air pollution damages over less than four decades. Gates also pointed to an important factor called pollution export when you drive your car or gas or electric in a given county. The consequences of that driving does not just stay within the county might affect people far away like as a pollution might make it disbursement to other places. What we've discovered makes sense.
But when we think about it before did study is that electric vehicles pull export pollution to other states. A Ford focus, gas, car driven in Fulton County, Georgia. Almost all that pollution is highly concentrated in three or four counties with our six counties around with a cars trip might make sense tailpipe emissions are about 2 feet rights alert never learned, they tend to stick around and harm people right near where the cars driven what happens to the pollution picture when you substitute electric car for a gas powered car plug that car in the whole grid whole East Coast grid reacts to that change.
Demand for electricity rightness power plants have very high smokestacks disperses the pollution and you can see that Atlanta is green right so Atlanta doesn't really suffer the consequences of the pollution from that car. Whereas most of it ends up in the Charlotte area in this picture also has far-reaching consequences throughout the eastern United States. Yates summarizes his findings when you drive your electric car in most states you making society worse off, but you make in your state better off. That's kinda the bottom line is your sending the pollution somewhere else is environmental benefit for electric vehicle.
It really depends really depends on how clean the grid is right Western group reclaim identical plants at Hydro crime is been a lot of changes in the electricity grid just over last six years so you may collect a little bit better I would have a long way to go in places like Fargo, North Dakota for the generate environment benefit. The second point is that they pollute, they pollute the export pollution to other places that segregates professor in the UNC Chapel Hill economics department. He delivered these remarks recently to the John lock foundation will return with more Carolina journal radio 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. We keep you in the know in a way other media outlets don't in our reach and influence are growing all of our outlets.
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The award-winning Carolina journal team I reporters make government accountable to you. Call 1866 JL FINFO for your free subscription, welcome back to Carolina journal radio I'm Dina Martina's wake County is growing rapidly with thousands of people moving into the county each year.
That's why the news that the public school system in wake County added just 42 kids this year really surprised analysts, particularly since wake voters had just approved a $548 million bond for school construction.
So does wake County's minuscule enrollment growth implications for the state of North Carolina. Perhaps other counties as well. Terry Steves is the vice president for research. Also, the director of education studies for the John lock foundation. He's been following the numbers closely and joins us now. Terry welcome back and happy new year to you. Thank you alright so wake County.
All we hear and read is that people are coming in literally every single day. Understandably, it's a great place, as is the entire state but only 42 kids enrollment growth that's really shocking considering that there enrollment growth in the past has ranged from anywhere between 1500 to 6000 kids. So we've seen tremendous enrollment growth in wake County in the past and I think there was a suspicion, especially amongst those who of us who follow these sorts of trends that there was going to slow down but this is a slamming on the brakes, student enrollment, which I don't think anyone expected and including wake County before the school year begins, every County provides a estimate of what their enrollment is going to be for the upcoming school year and it's the basis on which the state gives funding to the school district. They projected healthy growth of thousands of students, and so they were expecting the kind of influx that they've had in the past they were caught off guard by the only 42 students are claiming that it's an anomaly does not mean they will be in the position of having to refund money to the state of North Carolina yeah they will not receive.
So certainly the amount of money they expected to receive and this is going to be the case with any district that over projected their enrollment for the upcoming school year is that they will receive the funding for the students that they have not for the students that they thought they were going to have so in a sense, so this is what it is. I think riling a lot of central offices around the state is that their expectations were so far off the mark that they have to adjust budgets now to compensate for the fact that there were fewer students that are going to come into their district. Do we know what the dynamics are that led to this well there are probably multiple factors that are playing a role here. There is a decline in birth rates. We could see that over the last decade. Birthrates have been going down is the case in wake County so that's going to deftly be playing a role, but school choices definitely playing a role as well. Influx of charter schools, especially in the triangle is going to be one factor that's driving some students away from the district system to the charters and homeschooling is so incredibly popular in wake County and elsewhere, and there seems to be no slowing the growth in home school students around the state and especially in urban and suburban but increasingly in rural counties as well so homeschooling charter schooling.
I think of the two big factors that are leading enrollment estimates to be so far off the mark.
Are we seeing the same trend in other counties.
We definitely are and you could see all around the cat, the triangle, for example, Durham is going to have a declining student population were to see some of the suburban counties like Johnston and hornet counties are probably if they're going to have any increase in students at all. It's can be very very small. One thing to keep in mind is the numbers that were using are the numbers for the second month and we awaits enrollment figures for the subsequent months and at the end of the year we get that final enrollment number and a lot changes during the school year, so it's possible that wake either gains or loses students the same is true with some of the other districts as well, but it looks like Durham is headed for year with her and have a declining student population. In the case of wake County voters in November approved a $548 million school construction bond and there have even been talk, perhaps so. Wake County officials trying to put in additional construction bond on the 2020 ballot.
How do those two things square with 42 new kids, well that they really did believe the lease they told everyone they believe that there were generous get thousands of kids every year for the next decade. And so when you're telling people you have to support this bond because tens of thousands of kids are going to be enrolling in our schools over the next decade.
People get worried about having the money for facilities and so they sold the bond based on the expectation that the enrollment growth that had existed in the county for the last decade was good to continue to the next decade. And of course that probably isn't going to happen now.
The good thing about this is they don't need to sell all the bonds at once. In other words, a note for this County to get the money they sell the bonds, they can spread that out for as long as they they need to, so they don't need to use all the money at once or even concentrate the money in the first or second year they better not tell voters that they need to approve a bond in 2020. I think voters would understand that if there is a significant slowdown in enrollments that perhaps they should play catch up with the money they have and not as voters for additional funds that anything might be hard to tell you how they space on those numbers but will see.
And as you said that the numbers could change as we get them further into the school year. There's also been talk including from key leaders in the Gen. assembly of trying to put together some sort of statewide school construction bond what your views on yeah you know this is an interesting turn of events because I don't think there were some people including myself. The really didn't expect there to be a school construction bond presented by Republicans in the general assembly.
It's a tough situation because traditionally the. The school districts and the counties have been responsible for their facilities and now the state is looking to take on increasing role.
My thought is, is that I may be able to support a bond. If there's a comprehensive plan for addressing school construction that engages the private sector, but I don't think that that's in place. What I see is a school construction bond that will provide more money for some districts that really do needs new school buildings, but not a comprehensive plan for addressing all of the needs that we have in our school facilities and that's my biggest concern is that not just the we have lottery money going to school construction every year and that we might have this possible bond put before voters which they would approve. But the fact that we will have a long-term strategy for addressing our facilities. That's my biggest concern and that's why I'm hesitant to throw any support behind a statewide school construction bond when it comes to construction of public charter schools. It's a whole different story. How does a public charter school go about finding a place that they can call the school they get money from the state they don't send.
They have to look to the bride private sector if they're building a school or they have to look for an existing building that could function as a school and provide the funds out of their operating funds to be able to renovated so you know this firsthand as you are an operator of a new public charter school that's that's correct so you know we had to get our money from the private sector in order to be in a position to build the school building that will eventually house hundreds of students that will not be a burden on the wake County schools or the hornet County schools given where our school is located because those they will not have to build buildings for the students that come to our school.
So saving them a lot of money by getting a private sector investor were investors to provide the funds for school building and take that burden off the local school districts will the ramifications of all this is fascinating and the role that school choice in parents choosing a different alternatives sent to have their children educated Dr. Terry stoops is the vice president for research.
Also, the director of education studies for the John Locke foundation. You can read all of his firstname.lastname@example.org and John Locke.org. Thank you. Thank you. That's all the time we have for the show this week. Appreciate you listening hope you come back again next week for another edition of Carolina Journal radio Carolina Journal radio is a program of the John Locke foundation to learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina Journal radio send email to development John Locke done or call 66 GLS info 1-866-553-4636 Carolina Journal radio is the John line foundation, Carolina's free-market maintaining and Carolina broadcasting system, Inc. all opinions expressed on this program are solely those did not merely reflect the advertisers or the station. For more information about the show for other programs and services of the John line foundation visit John line toll-free at 866 JL at would like to thank our wonderful radio affiliates across North Carolina and our sponsors from all of us at Carolina Journal radio. Thank you for listening. Please join us again next week