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Carolina Journal Radio No. 793: Tennessee study questions value of government pre-K

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
July 30, 2018 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 793: Tennessee study questions value of government pre-K

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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July 30, 2018 12:00 am

A new Vanderbilt University report questions the academic benefits of Tennessee’s prekindergarten program. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president of research and director of education studies, assesses the new research and discusses its implications for state pre-K programs in North Carolina. As stories about a national opioid epidemic continue to generate headlines, more and more states are considering new taxes on opioid drugs. Patrick Gleason, vice president of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, analyzes the growing interest in targeting opioids for taxation. He explains ATR’s concerns about these taxes. It’s hard to tell how well a government program works if no one is measuring its impact. That’s why John Turcotte, director of the N.C. General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division, is touting the idea of establishing new government performance measures. He discussed the topic during a recent briefing for state lawmakers. Much of the recent debate about American trade involves popular myths. Bryan Riley, director of the Free Trade Initiative at the National Taxpayers Union, rebutted some of those myths during a recent panel discussion in Raleigh. Riley touts the benefits of free trade. GenX dumped in the Cape Fear River has generated plenty of headlines. But there’s been much less publicity surrounding the presence of GenX and related chemicals in solar panels that dot the N.C. landscape. Dan Way, associate editor of Carolina Journal, reports that some policymakers are beginning to raise questions about solar panel composition and potential long-term environmental impacts.

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From charity to Currituck 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 Carolina Journal radio why Matrox got during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state more and more states are looking at opioid taxes as they address the ongoing epidemic linked to these powerful drugs, a representative of Americans for tax reform shares his concerns that of the North Carolina Gen. assembly's program evaluation division discusses his interest in setting new performance measures for government programs. The head of the new free trade initiative at the National taxpayers Union rebuts some popular trade myths, plus learn why some policymakers have concerns about the chemical Gen X and they have nothing to do with the Cape fear River. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline a new study on the effects of prekindergarten on achievement and behavior is turning conventional wisdom on its head, joining us to explain the study results from Vanderbilt University researchers is Dr. Terry stoops. He is vice president for research. Also, the director of education studies for the John Locke foundation Terry welcome back.

Thank you. I think Terry if you ask the average person on the street about pre-k programs. The Sabal course every kid should be going to prekindergarten. After all, we want them to be fully ready for school and for first grade, why have we all kind of come to that conclusion well because we believe that more schooling is always better and that's really the problem here is that you know it's not so much that we have programs in place for these kids for K-12. But the thinking is, is that, well, okay, we got them a kindergarten. So maybe if we got them a little bit earlier we would get them more of what they need, which is schooling which is preparation for reading and math because that really is the concern is, are they coming into kindergarten prepared for the curriculum that waits for them and so that that is simply the idea that we have is that more is better.

Just universe similar to the debate.

We have about spending bright, spending more in education is always better. According to some people and we have the same sort of thinking here that more education is better.

Now we have this new study from Vanderbilt to researchers that really is questioning all of that with some very serious data tell us about the study will this is a data of that has addressing Tennessee's voluntary pre-k program and what makes this study particularly interesting is that they randomly assign students to two groups. One group who attend the pre-k funded by the states and one group that does not send this is really the most important aspect of the study we think about what a clinical trial is for example in the pharmaceutical industry.

If you want to know whether or some sort of medicine is working. You give a placebo to some patients. And you give the medicine to others and then when the have those two groups you compare them to see how these groups fare one against the other, the same idea here, except were looking at social science research and this is prekindergarten and it found that not only do students when they start getting into first, second and third grade not do as well as their counterparts, but in some measures there actually doing worse than those who did not attend a state-funded pre-k program in Tennessee even that's a shocking finding to a lot of people who think that anytime a student receives any sort of state-funded pre-k program that they are going to see results and benefits throughout their education, not just in those initial grades. Terry what's different to me about the study results is that previously we have heard of studies I think you and I talked about on this program that were showing that down.

Kids would show some improvement in pre-k and in the first couple of years of of school, but then it really leveled off and those benefits went away but you're saying this study is showing that not only do they go away that there's a negative effect. According to these researchers that on some measures academic measures behavioral measures. There was actually an adverse effect to being exposed to a pre-k program now what were referring to is the fadeout effect and then that's that of the term used for those who go through a pre-score prekindergarten program and by third grade don't have any of the benefits don't show any of the benefits from having received that education now this flies in the face of some very popular research out there, especially by James Heckman of the University of Chicago who tried to track students who receive pre-k services throughout their adult life and find lower levels of incarceration and those sorts of measures a higher level. Levels of employment so that has been the prevailing idea is that pre-k effects persist not only through one's education but into their later adult life and I think that this study is sort of not only just questioning that but is part of in a emerging body of research that's calling all of that into question what is the application in for North Carolina.

After all, this is a study out of Tennessee about Tennessee's pre-k program well this really should get our policymakers thinking about their recent expansions of our pre-k program. We have over 30,000 kids are currently in the pre-k program. We spent hundreds of millions of dollars both in state and federal funds on our pre-k programs. So whether that PNC pre-k and head starts in all the various programs that we have for preschoolers in North Carolina which really amount to a law dominated the.

The programs that we provide our expansive and extent inexpensive and so we should be thinking about what are what programs were providing how much of these programs costing only receiving lasting benefits from this investments you know we should be looking at the study and thinking is this happening in North Carolina and then we should find out what we do next. Terry, because I would imagine when legislators are particularly education advocates and analysts have here about this and listen to our interview and look at the study themselves. They will be. I would say at least surprise in some cases, shocked by this is that going to perhaps some impede any analytical look at them at North Carolina's programs because people might just think this can't possibly be true. It is possible, but I think this is really the opportunity that we have is to see is this Tennessee program, something that is being faced in other states, are we seeing similar results in North Carolina.

Why don't we try to do the same sort of research that they did in Tennessee to see if we get the same results. I know that there are some people that are afraid of what we would find and afraid that we would zero out our pre-k programs. I will think there's any intent to do that.

I still think the prekindergarten programs for poor children and for children that are neglected or that have family lives that render them in in the dire circumstances.

I think the prekindergarten programs for the cohort of students is absolutely critical.

I think we need to continue to provide high quality programs for those children.

What we need to question though is, should we be providing programs for students that are not in those situations know we hear a lot of states talking about universal pre-k that would extend pre-k to a state-funded pre-k to middle class kids.

We have a lot of research that tells us that middle-class kids don't benefit very much from state-funded pre-k and so my really can. My concern is that as we spend more money on pre-k programs and as we start reaching populations that don't necessarily show the benefits of pre-k, that's an opportunity lost in money, that's not well spent. Your comments Terry remind me of some of the discussions we've had about Ted issue of class size, and you've always made the point that one-size-fits-all is not the way to go in, in terms of class size, it could be that there are some kids or some grades that might need a smaller class, but in other cases that there's no benefit there. Sounds like almost that same analysis needs to take place here. That's right. And we need to really start thinking about the individual circumstances of these children because there are certainly times where it's absolutely necessary for these children, especially that of a poor home life, which is where the foundations for their education are laid.

If there home life precludes them from having the skills the very basic skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten and in school that the state step in and say we will provide this for you.

But once we start getting away from that population. I fear that it's not money well invested and unfortunately this is an issue that tugs at heartstrings. So when we talk about research like this all too often it's well you just don't like kids.

Or, you know, this research is really getting to what kids really need. Let's take the research seriously. Let's take the needs of kids seriously were talking with Dr. Terry stoops. He is vice president for research.

The director of education studies for the John Locke foundation Terry is 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 day@carolinajournal.com 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 events@carolinajournal.tv 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 need@carolinajournal.com welcome back to Carolina journal radio. I mixed Coke. I headlines frequently warn us about the dangers of an opioid epidemic in the United States. Our next guest choices to share a different warning related to opioids. Patrick Gleason is vice president of state affairs for the group Americans for tax for welcome back to the program. Patrick delight to be with Mitch so your warning isn't to to with the dangers of the drug itself, but the prospect of taxation, link to opioids tell us about it yellow its latest tax fed Mitch so for decades. The go to tax hike targets have been alcohol and tobacco but starting about a decade ago we saw state lawmakers get more creative with their go to targets. They move from so-called sin taxes on tobacco and booze as their targets to other things like soda and snack foods well.

They have a new target. Now there's a new fad tax for 2018 and its tax on opioids, special opioid tax we've seen about a dozen states introduce.

It is been introduced under the. The auspices of this is going to address the opioid addiction crisis but will organizations come out against that because we disagree with that contention. So basically what would this work like what have been traditionally called the sin taxes where you see the special tax on cigarettes or alcohol would actually be a tax on all those pills of opioids yet, so that what it would be on most cables proposal be applied at the manufacturer level though as with Mottet most taxes. These eventually are passed along the cost to consumers and just to highlight that in fact was Gov. Andrew Cuomo New York just made New York the first state to enact a special opioid tax. They did this last month when Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law, and Gov. Cuomo speaking on both sides of his mouth. He was a champion of the special tax he was saying this will not be passed along to consumers and result in regressive tax increase as we were contending it would. Yet the same time, his own budget document.

The section on that tax said this cost will be passed along, so he admitted in his budget document even though you would a minute not admit of public statements that this regressive tax increases ultimately passed along and I would contend though the opioid addiction crisis is is is a serious issue that very much needs to be addressed in his ravage a number of communities across the country, but I would contend my organization can surpass one contends a special tax on opioids is not the solution. In fact addicts by definition are among the least price-sensitive actors in the market.

So these will not address the opiate addiction crisis. They do service distractions from real solutions at the end of the day. They have negative unintended consequences in the form of a regressive tax like is this seen as the potential for a large money grab or is it more the sense that you know people are mad about these opioids and this is way with we could get a least a little bit extra money out of will. That's how these opioid tax proposals in this new trend.

It is, is it shares a lot of things in common with previous tax pads on things I mentioned like soda and snack food taxes or back taxes is a new tax that sold under the auspices of doing some form of good some altruistic because cleaning up the environment, making people healthier when, as the case with those of punitive regressive regressive Peruvian tax increases. They don't improve health. They don't make the environment cleaner, but all they really do is a service is altruistic guys for a money cash grab is no different with these opioid tax proposals. Their shameless cash grabs a introduced and advanced under the guise of a addiction mitigation model and what we are arguing to lawmakers as one, they don't injure address or mitigate addiction into this is just a shameless, cash grab passed under disguise. So that's what we see, that is the voice of Patrick Gleason.

He is vice president of state affairs for the group Americans for tax reform you mentioned New York is the first thing that is actually enacted us and acted this tell us how it works. There yes so it supplied the manufacturer level. This was introduced early in the year. Actually, Cuomo came out and this was a proposal that he championed some states fixing this introducing legislature but in New York. Cuomo changing this and actually this actually ties into a common theme were seeing in a host of other attached proposals in which is I would call a taxing tragedy.

The response in response to various tragedies where that whether their mass shootings, or in this case opioid addiction crisis, which is tearing communities apart. The response from too many politicians and interest groups has been a new spending program or a new tax when those don't get at the root causes these problems, which often cases are behavioral when living with her to an opioid tax doesn't get it addiction or it's a bag tax doesn't reduce the environment. The promise behavioral there more root causes the need to be gotten at and this knee-jerk reaction to introduce a tax or new spending program in response to tragedy is unfortunately too prevalent we seen it with gun tax proposals both nationally and Congress in states like California and again opioid taxes, back taxes, soda taxes, they do not address the cause of the problem. They are ours are intended or sold under as addressing the problem that one of the things that you often hear debates is sort that the simple argument that if you want more of something to subsidize it and if you want less of something you tax and I'm guessing that some of the people pushing for the opioid tax are using that sort of simple formulation, but what you're telling us is you need to think beyond that simple argument and look at whether this is actually dealing with the problem and it isn't you and I would also like to mention one unintended negative constants of these opioid taxes and these have dire a budgetary implications for states as states through Medicaid programs, which is this cost, or share between states and the federal government. States are large purchases of opioids, so a state like New York when they in student opioid tax, the state was actually taxing itself, since they will be paying that tax is one of the largest buyers of pharmaceuticals including opioids so among the many reasons the fact that doesn't address addiction. The fact that it results in regressive tax increase would also had the state taxing itself. So just one of the many reasons why lawmakers should reject an opioid tax proposal should it be introduced in Raleigh or another state capital and you just mention Raleigh, we should point out because most of our listeners are in North Carolina that this is not something that we've seen yet. Really gain any kind of traction. In North Carolina, but if someone within the general assembly hears us and says hey this is great idea.

I'd like to put forward this proposal for an opioid tax. What would you tell I would want to have a meeting with them so I could spend more time walking through.

I it's a bad idea. I would let the noise become to testify against it.

But I would say this is not in the solution to the opioid addiction crisis. This will have other negative unintended consequences.

In addition to not addressing the problem and again this is a distraction from the real solution so the closest state introduced went North Carolina has been Tennessee lawmakers there wisely rejected and adjourned session without passing it. I recommend lawmakers in North Carolina do the same should be introduced here.

You mentioned that this fits in with somewhat of a pattern we seen syntaxes for years and years, but you mentioned. In addition to the traditional alcohol and cigarette taxes execs soda bag taxes, and things of that sort do you suspect given what you've seen in recent years were likely to see more. These types of things in the future. Something looks bad to some legislators. So let's have a new tax focusing on that item. Yes, I do expect that and for the reason the that the reasons always been the case.

The old should belong saying don't tax you don't text me text the man behind the tree. That is the go to strategy for politicians who like to who want to increase taxes so they always want to raise the tax on the others. Some malign population. Some unpopular activities.

So certainly it's the path of least resistance to raising taxes for politicians so I expect expect to see the trap in the strategy continue. We mentioned that north of that that New York has passed this and yet the case that a dozen states of at least talked about it. Is it likely that any others states at this point are going to move forward or are you having a successor for fighting back against an opioid tax yes so mentioned New York was the first and so far only state to enact one object in the Republican-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives executive actually the first legislative chamber to enact one about a month ago.

The state Senate there and Gov. Matt Bevin rejected at other a few threats of a bill still pending out there that could pass that organizations watching one person is going to be watching this very closely. As these proposed opioid taxes are presented. Patrick Gleason, vice president of state affairs for the group Americans for tax reform doing a lot more on Carolina Journal writing you just 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.

North Carolina's freedom movement and North Carolina conservative.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. Even 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.

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Don't wait for the morning newspaper. Don't 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 as the work foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to us. The John Locke foundation. So here's how it works long time to smile.amazon.com Amazon smile. It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is much 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, help support the John Locke foundation. Welcome back to Carolina Journal radio hi Mitch Coke I North Carolina's occupational licensing boards might have to do more in the future to justify their existence.

John Turk Ott of the Gen. assembly's program evaluation division explains, we had originally thought that we could start developing performance measures for the board and have the performance measures put in place for early early well with consensus of the working group was that was a bit too ambitious.

The boards have not been required to keep consistent performance measures outside of the statistics of the compiling, which are not the same thing is but members I'm going to come before you one of these days and recommend that they do that there are and will be required to do performance measures and boards are listening and the representatives what what it would be determine what is the problem that you're trying to solve by regulating the profession. What is the problem.

What is the public safety problem there, some military tradition out there some negative condition that if it were not if he was not dealt with by regulation of the occupation it would continue to be too high and harmful to the public or within works okay what is that problem not that what we're doing here. The problem is left comply with the law of the law. The law was not the problem. The laws means to its so the how are you doing with this problem, you should start thinking about problems along with lab outcome measure that is okay. There is a problem where we articulate about quite well put some numbers around how big is the problem. How many people were impacted or affected by, or harmed, and as a result of your regulation and as a result of your interventionism occupational licensing board. What is happened so that condition is going down. As you would hope is staying the same or is it getting worse. Okay, how much worse and so that's the outcome measure leisure measures are what we call output measures less like how many people of your license. I'm ready licenses.

If you turned down the final measures would be efficiency measures were, you would determine what the different activities of the boards cost and then you divide the outputs into the cost and you get unit cost that's John Turk Ott of the North Carolina Gen. assembly's program evaluation division is explaining new performance measures for state occupational licensing boards will return with more Carolina Journal radio with a moment 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 and@johnlocke.org/podcast headlock is a little bit different.

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Listen to Carolina Journal radio each week and listen to headlock to remember, you can listen to headlock@johnlocke.org/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 Qubec Carolina Journal radio hi Mitch Coke I today's political debates feature a lot of myths involving trade during a recent visit to Raleigh Brian Riley of the National taxpayers Union helped rebut some of those myths when I talked about trade policy to people.

A lot of times there are couple points that that I like to try and and get out to have people think about trade maybe differently than the latest typically described in the press or by by politicians and the first is I'll have different examples in the example I use for for me is my microwave oven broke this last week. So to fly back to DC tonight and tomorrow I'm going to go to target or Walmart or Best Buy or someone, and by the new Michael 11 so my question is, what I don't buy this microwave and spend $100 or hundred and $50. How much my quiz costs.

Now that at target laissez which one of us wins in which one of us lose its transaction was a silly question is because I win because I need microwave I give microwave target wins because they got a microwave to sell and they have sold the microwave trade is a win-win transaction.

That's true. When Brian goes to buy a microwave that's true when Kroger goes to buy asparagus in the middle of winter from growers in Mexico is true when US farmers in Kansas or Iowa still soybeans to China there all win-win transactions.

So think about trade as one person wins and one loses. I think can lead to some policies that are harmful. Riley offered another example about a myth involving trade. If I take my big fat National taxpayers Union, salary, and in addition to buying a microwave this weekend. I buy a new Ferrari that's made in Italy and I send them $600,000 and I get the car.

I have just added $600,000 to the US Italy trade deficit or to the overall US trade deficit with the world how much do any of you owe Italy because Brian just added $600,000 to the trade deficit. Nothing answer is zero trade deficit is if I could change one thing would be for the government and for policy. He wants like myself just to stop using the phrase trade deficit instead saying net exports are trade imbalance or something like that and we can have a nice discussion about who has unfair trade barriers and what can we do about it and how can we address it.

But when you use the phrase trade deficit. Any normal person who hears deficit is going to think were losing or monies being deficit drained out of the US economy and again. This leads to some very wrong policies that are bad for the United States. That's Brian Riley of the National taxpayers Union. After spelling out the examples of the microwave and the high dollar Italian sports car. Riley recapped his basic message trade is win-win and trade deficit does not mean dollars are being drained from the US economy and it if you're with me and you agree with that and you understand it you know more than the US commerce Sec., the US trade representative, the chief trade advisor to the president of the United States. ICSI people laugh or edited there there in shock but if you look at the comments is all based on the trade deficits.

Too bad we are losing. If they really believe that they don't have an understanding of how things work and II stress if they really believe it because I don't know how much politicians typically believe what they say are using it to get to get other other topics. Riley leads the National taxpayers Union's free-trade initiative just describing what free-trade means that it just means when you own your paychecks, you get to decide how to spend the money and somebody in DC doesn't get to decide how to spend the money free-trade agreements that remove barriers that increase economic freedom and a lot of times I talked about trade in a vacuum, but policies are all interrelated omission trade deficits as much since I hate that phrase. What it overlooks is the money that people are in other countries when they sell something to us. If they don't buy our exports they invest in the United States. They build Toyota factories are. They build to your factories that benefits us. I would never politicians rarely focus on that 7/7,000,000 Americans work for, companies around the country like Toyota, Kia, many here in North Carolina as well.

If you have a dollar to invest for their sitting in North Carolina, Arkansas or Iowa or China or Mexico or the US is a pretty darn good place to invest money so a lot of money that might otherwise be used by the US export is invested in our economy or is borrowed by the federal government.

We want a big budget deficit. How are you going to finance the overspending for not taxing. We have to borrow it would more for Americans only borrow from Europe. We borrow from Japan we borrow from China so dollars that could have been used by American exports are essentially spent on US treasury bonds instead.

So this does not mean that other countries, particularly China are guilty of bad acts that we are trying to do something about the last not playing make the mistake of blaming other countries for policies that a lot of times really made in the USA. There's a lot of talk in political circles about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Riley offers some historical perspective that originated with Pres. Reagan's 1979 campaign announcement when he said I want to have a common accord between the three North American countries where goods will flow more freely between the three countries. Just like they flow between the 50 states.

That's the direction I think that we should head with respect to NAFTA and I think it's been something that has benefited the US tremendously look if you worry about China.

No one will be more happy to see the US pull out of NAFTA and the leaders in China, we risk falling behind his other countries move forward with trade agreements. If we don't continue, not just either get at least if we don't expand our agreements with other countries we should or shouldn't be pulling out of them manufacturing output in the US is up like $1 trillion since NAFTA was was passed. Not all because of NAFTA that it added economic growth in the United States and encourage other countries around the world to pursue similar trade liberalization and I don't know how many people here are concerned about immigration not a lot of groups in that and and it's a big concern if you can imagine a scenario that we have today where deleting presidential candidate in Mexico is somebody who's praise Fidel Castro who's compared US investors in Mexico, the Pirates and you marry that with the US potentially pulling out of NAFTA. Will you think we have an immigration problem now you have no idea compared to what you have down the road. NAFTA has been a win-win wages than all three countries we should be improved should be modernized.

That's Brian Riley, director of the free-trade initiative at the National taxpayers Union, he defended free-trade during a recent presentation in Raleigh will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment a 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. We reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians each month so make sure you're one of them. Our monthly print edition arrives in your mailbox every month.

Our online daily news site Carolina journal.com has fresh stories, opinion pieces, and more. 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 Donna Martinez the state of North Carolina and other folks as well have sued a chemical manufacturer for releasing Jan acts into the Cape fear River contaminating drinking supplies but now Carolina journal has learned that Jan X also is present in some solar panels.

Danwei is associate editor of Carolina journal. He's been following this developing story enjoins us now and welcome back to the show based on what is Gen X Gen X is a chemical compound moves notice in the class of substances known as emerging contaminants is not a lot of things known about them scientifically's subject of a lot of research right now but yet the word is contaminants so that definitely has a negative connotation. Is this something that's dangerous or is that the subject of all of this controversy.

Well that's part of what's going on with the lawsuits whether it is dangerous or not and certainly at this point there has not been established. Toxicity level safe amount the state has come out and said hundred 40 ppt in water is the maximum level but hasn't really been anything from the EPA on the federal level yet you were writing a story Dan. It's really pretty interesting because there's been a lot of reporting statewide about Gen X in the deposits into the Cape fear River, but how did you determine how did you find out that this chemical also is in some solar panels less good sourcing academy can reveal exactly who, but yet that's what intrigued me about the story that there are some people who are raising some very legitimate concerns about EPA in the groundwater system and given the history of this compound like us of the right to ask questions.

There are also a lot of people running around with her hair on fire about this. Mrs. the big environmental story of the day and yet no one was looking at the fact that from publicly available information. You can find other Gen X is used in the process of developing Teflon film which goes on to some seller patent is billed as a coating that goes onto the panels to help in the generation of electricity it magnifies and proves that I think one of the reasons that your story is getting so much attention is because when you say solar panels. Dan, are we talking about everything from something that we might put on our own house on a roof to like a major solar farm with her various types of film coating that are used so it would be on every solar panel.

Every solar cell is certainly be possible to be in these Teflon films and in more's the folks who make this chemical in use in the process for developing solar panels, film from their own marketing materials and says that it's used in the process so you talk about hundred 40 ppt groundwater. I don't know what that would translate to the solar panel but no stealing that research. No one seems to care about whether there might be a big Gen X problem out there that has been showing up in other parts of the state that are not at the plateau.

It has to tell us about that. Well, there's not a lot known about that yet in the Gen X is also used in commercial products of things you would have in your house or anything Teflon in the land like pots and pans and sail us so just not been a lot of a big body of research on Gen X itself with the spoon.

What is the company. The manufacturer have to say about all that you mention their marketing materials one would presume considering that we have what many how many would describe as a robust regulatory system in this country, one would presume that if they're using something in production that is been reviewed by some sort of official agency or scientific folks. It will DuPont, which originally owned the plan for Fayetteville work plan didn't come until they have divested s'mores and set up s'mores as an independent company so they will in answering my questions.

I refer me back to tomorrow's who do not respond to numerous requests for information and interviews so didn't get much from them, but they did send me some information updating the lawsuit of the state has got some for the discharge done on the Cape fear River but nothing about the solar panels.

What regulatory agencies like the federal EPA or the State Department of an environmental quality.

The federal EPA. They did confirm for me the Gen X is used in solar panels also. That was a tough get you and bend a lot of folks who were unable to substantiate that they're going testing right now s'mores and DuPont have been under the been under a consent order testing since 2009. There was a lot known from the pump plant in Parkersburg West Virginia where they were making Teflon on a used the previous version of Gen X which was associate it was called mouse found to cause testicular and kidney cancer, hypertension, some other illnesses and they ended up settling met with about 3500 claimants for $670 million. So we did. We do know that that precursor was dangerous and in our health scientists who are saying that there saying some similar activity going on with the limited amount of evidence is available right now on Gen X so it's it's a new strain news new version of the old substance but it is raising some concerns among environmental health folks is it raising any concerns among state policymakers yeah will beat you what you think would have a big interest in this. I sent them a list of questions their request. I didn't get a response as yet filed a freedom of information act. So to get some information that they have not responded to their identical bills introduced in the House and the Senate earlier this year by Republican lawmakers in which they the bill passed would have authorize the governor to shut down s'mores if it didn't reduce its discharge of Gen X into the Cape fear and yet none of them but one responded to me when I asked him about whether they had any concerns with the Gen X and the solar panels are not Deb Butler was a Democratic lawmaker from New Hanover County raised concerns about Gen X but said she didn't know anything about the solar panel relationship Richard Hudson up in Congress. He's been hot on the seas.

Discussions with the previous EPA administrator Scott Pruitt about it so some folks are asking Damas talk a little bit about the solar industry in North Carolina because this state has gotten a lot of attention for the proliferation and the growth of the solar industry is at one of the reasons. First of all, that you got interested in this, and number two. Why are we such a big solar state will exactly. That is one of the big drivers of my interest in the stories we have the second largest amount of solar capacity installed solar capacity in the country behind only California. So if we have all the solar panels out there, some of which may or may not contain Gen X, it would seem to me that we want Ellen Nelson concern, especially if some of the opponents are saying the critics are saying is so dangerous, I would not want to know just as much about what's going on.

The solar panels we do with the discharge of the plant.

Why such a big solar industry. I'm from Arizona can understand it. There he could understand Florida, North Carolina, Midatlantic state subsidies so but the subsidies we had very favorable terms and conditions and programs for the solar industry to floor share. So where there is money. People will follow exactly what you are building sort of women Tyler danwei. He is associate editor of Carolina Journal questions more questions over Gen X that chemical as it relates to potentially being included in some of the Teflon used on some of these types of solar panels. You can read it all.

Carolina Journal.com Dan, thank you all the time we have for the program this week.

Thank you for listening on behalf of my cohost Mitch. Okay I'm Donna Martinez will join us again next week for another edition of Carolina radio Carolina Journal radio is a program of the John lot to learn more about the John Locke foundation, including donations that support programs like Carolina Journal radio send email to development John Locke done for 66 GLS info 166-553-4636 Carolina Journal radio foundation airline is maintained. Carolina run system. All opinions expressed on this program nearly formation about Michelle or other programs and services in the John lot foundation missing John lot three and eight like to thank our wonderful radial cross North Carolina and are sponsored Carolina Journal radio listening again


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