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Carolina Journal Radio No. 702: Education reformers make great strides, have work to do

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2016 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 702: Education reformers make great strides, have work to do

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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October 31, 2016 12:00 am

Education reformers have made great progress in North Carolina in recent years. They still have plenty of work to do to improve traditional public schools and to expand opportunities for parental school choice. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s director of research and education studies, outlines key education recommendations from the latest version of JLF’s Agenda document. Free trade has taken a beating during the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton all took aim at agreements designed to remove trade barriers between the United States and foreign countries. That’s bad news to Scott Linciome, international trade attorney, visiting lecturer at Duke University, and adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. During the recent celebration of Milton Friedman Legacy of Freedom Day, Lincicome touted the benefits of trade and explained why the presidential candidates are wrong to attack trade. Lincicome shared highlights of his presentation in an interview for Carolina Journal Radio. The N.C. General Assembly might consider tweaking its formula for funding the state’s community colleges. You’ll hear highlights from a recent presentation on the topic from the legislature’s Program Evaluation Division, along with reaction from state community college leaders and lawmakers. North Carolina has adopted laws specifically targeting gang activity, but it’s not clear those laws have done much to fight gang activity. During a recent legislative meeting, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and Chuck Hastings of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department outlined key challenges related to current anti-gang laws. They also explained why data linked to anti-gang prosecutions fail to tell the full story. Wake County government is asking voters to consider raising the local sales tax by 0.5 percent to help fund a $2.3 billion county transit plan. Key elements of the plan involve a new commuter rail line and adoption of new Bus Rapid Transit. Julie Tisdale, JLF’s city and county policy analyst, explains why taxpayers should be wary of funding an “underutilized, inconvenient, and expensive” local transit plan.


From Cherokee to current attack the largest city in 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, luggage, coca during the next hour, Donna Martines and I will explore some major issues affecting our state free-trade has taken a beating on the presidential campaign trail this year, both major party candidates have bashed great deals but Duke University and Cato Institute scholar joins us to explain why they're both wall North Carolina lawmakers could tweak their funding formula for the states community colleges you hear highlights from a recent legislative debatable topic. The state has adopted laws in recent years designed to fight gang activity, you learn why some police officers and prosecutors say those laws haven't worked as intended and you learn why a John Locke foundation expert says voters in one of North Carolina's largest counties should be wary of raising the local sales tax goal support of a $2 billion transit plan stories are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline perhaps no policy issue is debated more hotly in North Carolina then public education, how we make sure that children are acquiring the skills and the knowledge they need to live productive lives, a new guide to public policy, published by the John Locke foundation offers research-based recommendations to meet that goal, and Dr. Terry stoops is here to look at some of the key ideas. He is a director of research and education studies for the Locke foundation, a frequent guest here on her program Terry welcome back to the show. Thank you. Let's talk with that. One of the most interesting elements of education policy, I think, and that is how much do we spend and does it matter and should we spend more. Let's start with the basics.

How much do we spend with operator public schools we spun around 12 1/2 billion dollars and in that number has been increasing over the years and will continue to increase in this coming school year.

And that's over $9000. The students especially when you add in the amount we spend on capital expenses, school buildings and such. So we overall or spending has been increasing, mostly because of increases in state spending our federal spending has been flat or declining over the years in the local school systems armed sorry the local counties have been contributing more over the last five years.

That's interesting because some folks may not even realize that funding for students comes from three different places you've just outlined him roughly Terry what's the percentage breakdown of the money between federal funds, state funds and local funds sure the state funds account for around two thirds of those roughly around 65% of the money for our traditional public school system comes from state sources, around 25% will come from local sources County commissions and around 10% comes from the federal government, you can see why. For example, there are so many regulations that come down from the states because they control so much of the money what's unusual about this arrangement is the federal government because they only contribute 10% you would think that they wouldn't have much of a say in policy but have a great deal of same policy and contribute relatively small amounts are public school in this area of public school finance is just one piece of the agenda document that has been published.

You are a key writer and analyst in the agenda document which is Not only do you talk about how much we spend where the money comes from. But you make some record recommendations.

What should North Carolina do going forward in that area well.

As far as spending there with the one thing we have to remember, always when it comes to spending as if there is no relationship or very weak relationship between how much we spent and how students perform, you will find that across the states school districts that don't spend a whole lot per students can outperform those who spent quite a bit more than per student. So that's one thing I always like to keep in mind, but I think the most effective way that we can spend money more wisely is for the money to fall the child. We need to make sure that regardless of what kind of school they choose that that money is always going to follow that student to the school that best meets their needs and I think that's probably the best way we can ensure that every kid in North Carolina receives the education Terry folks and whether their parents, taxpayers, educators, and not only concerned about issues of money but down the issue of class size is not a lot of discussion over the past few years. Tell us where we stand in North Carolina, will our class sizes have stayed pretty much the same as they have in the last five or six years the years before. One thing to remember is that the general assembly since 2011 has made a concerted effort to reduce class sizes in grades K through three class sizes and those grades have gone down the class sizes the other grades have mostly stayed the same but as I point on the document so we shouldn't look too much into this class-size issue because we wrote don't find that reducing class sizes by a student or two students does anything to improve student performance.

In fact, we would have to go through a. Where we invest an enormous amount of money to reducing class sizes by five or six students for there to be any relationship between the class-size and student performance. And that's cost prohibitive. And that's really fascinating because I think people just in general believe.

Well if we just take out one or two kids. This is can have some great impact on on the achievement of these kids, but evidently not know absolutely nods and if you think about it. If we reduce class sizes radically we would need to hire many more teachers we would have to build a lot of school building, so the cost is just an enormous to reduce class sizes significantly. The approach taken by the Gen. assembly has been to reduce class sizes in grades where it seems to matter which is engaged, grades K through three and to give school districts the flexibility to create class sizes. The best meet their needs in grades four through 12 will only talk about class sizes. Of course that brings us to the discussion of teachers. We have also had quite a hot debate over whether or not teachers are leaving North Carolina, whether it is in greater numbers than other states are experiencing and why they might be leaving, so are we losing lots and lots of teachers we really aren't. If you look at the numbers, import versus export. We are a net importer of teachers. In other words we are more teachers coming to North Carolina teachers leaving to teach in other states, very small percentage of teachers who come to North Carolina decide to go to another state to teach and that's fine. Some decided to return to their home state to find a teaching position.

That's also fine. One thing we have to remember about teachers coming and going is that we want to recruit great teachers. We want bad teachers to leave and the one thing that we need to have a better sense of is our best teachers leaving to teach in other states or these mediocre teachers looking to get out of North Carolina because they can't cut it. I think that's an important recommendation that I have in the pieces that find out who these people are and how they performed so that we can know whether them leaving is a good thing or bad thing. So with poor performing teachers are choosing to leave the system.

That's not a problem for us. That's actually a positive that's an absolute, positive, and you know I will show them the door. Take your authorities here.

I have a feeling you would do that. We been talking about really traditional public schools here but of course I'm North Carolina is a very active in the choice movement, giving people options are a national leader choice Terry we are and we are national leader because we have lifted the cap on charter schools. We no longer have a cap on charter schools swim around 165 charters enrolling about 80,000 students, probably more. Once the final numbers come out.

We have thousands of students in our voucher programs we have in voucher for low income students and one for special needs students in the demand for those voucher programs is absolutely immense in the general assembly has insured that those voucher programs are going to remain funded year after year's this significant step a lot of states are willing to give that kind of commitment to our voucher programs but North Carolina has has really leadership of the Gen. assembly government worry that has insured that our voucher programs are going to be funded for years to come. The next step for us in terms of choice and an offering parents or ways of more options for how their children are educated will we need to continue to expand eligibility right now.

Low income students have access to vouchers we have to make sure that those middle income parents have some access and assistance for a private school for their student if they find that that is what they need. We need to continue to cultivate high quality charter schools and we need to ensure that all the schools that the students attend are high quality institutions that are truly meeting their educational and social need. And lastly, Terry on that issue of high quality schools that when it relates to public charter schools. The bad ones are shut down and that is happened were shutting down the bad ones.

And that's why charter school performance continues to increase, because a good one stay around the bad ones go away. We been talking with Dr. Terry stoops. He's director of research and education studies for the John Locke foundation Terry stay with us much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment, 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.

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 NC and at Carolina journal. Welcome back Carolina journal radio I Michiko got free trade has taken a hit on the campaign trail this year. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and to some extent Hillary Clinton all of had unkind words about the impact of free trade on the American economy one next guest offers a different perspective. Scott Linthicum is an international trade attorney is also a visiting lecturer at Duke University and an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute. He recently spoke to the John Locke foundation on Friedman legacy day they devoted to one of the world's foremost advocates of free trade. The late economist Milton Friedman Scott, welcome to the program.

Thanks rabbit. So a free trade we could hearing quite a bit more about trade and the impact of trade that we have, but in recent campaigns and I see you smiling the people to do is get see the smile was credible rise smile yet.

Probably more for the wrong reason you want to hear. Yeah, unfortunately we are not hearing about free trade because all the presidential candidates are out there cheering it you know it. It is without a doubt the worst political climate for free trade in the last few decades, and that has demonstrated because of the collapse of what we call the pro-trade consensus in American politics, at least in favor of open trade and free trade agreements in effect.

If people have been following this very closely. You could look back just a couple of decades ago, and both major parties supported free trade now will both major parties have major people who have questions or outright concerns or hostilities trade yet it's not even a few decades been really the pro-trade consensus goes all the way back to the 1940s.

You know, the, the establishment of the global trading system for the GATT we now call the WTO was begun by Secretary of State Cordell Hull assignments part of the FDR administration. This was the year of the WTO was created to foment a global stability in the trading system to avoid the kind of trade wars and tit-for-tat protectionism that led to real war so you know. Looking back to the last few decades you sought not just Democrats but also Republicans. Pres. Kennedy was a huge free trader to present Reagan obsolete and then of course lately both President Bush's Pres. Bill Clinton and even Pres. Obama has has come around on trade now supporting the transpacific partnership, free trade agreement. Now with all of the discussion about free trade.

What should people know about trade and its impact mobile sure you know I think that the thing that we miss in today's debate is a very simple understanding of what trade really is political candidates in particular talk about trade as if it is this zero-sum battle between countries. So China is doing this to America and were losing, you hear that a lot, especially from Donald Trump were losing it trade.

This actually fundamentally misunderstands what trade is, the fact is that trade is simply a voluntary economic transaction between individuals, not between countries, and it's done on that individual basis.

Protectionism, on the other hand is when the government gets in the way of that transaction so that can be, whether it be between us here in Raleigh and someone in Durham or someone in Washington DC or someone in China. The only thing that changes. There is the border crossing and we lose sight of that, because instead of talking about this very basic thing that we we know individuals entering into voluntary, usually beneficial transactions. We talk about it in terms that are so obfuscating that very simple reality we're speaking with Scott Linthicum. He is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute visiting lecturer at Duke University at an international trade attorney by trade. One of the things it seems to be a problem in the discussion about trade is a move away from the focus on the consumer as we have free trade. The ultimate beneficiary tends to be the consumer resident getting back to Adam Smith, a young that that's one of the fundamental is another fundamental misunderstanding about trade and this actually really the blame falls on free traders at least free traders in politics and in the business community. They always have tried to sell trade through obsessive focus on export and on opening foreign markets through reciprocal free trade agreement will that paints trade as a again kind of a zero-sum mercantilist game in which our big corporations are trying to export lots of goods and services to other countries, but like you said biggest beneficiaries of trader consumers. In fact recent study showed that about 90%, 90%. The consumer gains to trade go not to big multinational corporations but to poor and middle-class consumers and you'll get you step back and stop talking about the numbers and you think about this. It makes good sense poor and middle-class consumers have very tight budgets and they shop at places like Walmart and Target and buy imported goods.

So when the price of that good goes down they have more money or wealth really, because they can stretch the budget further. So when you impose protectionist trade barriers and you raise the price of goods and typically that's that the result of lobbying by well-connected industries and their lobbyists in Washington DC.

The result is higher prices when those prices go up who gets hurt the most well again it's the poor and middle-class consumer. These are American families.

The other thing that we miss is consumers also mean businesses you know about half of everything we import are things used by American manufacturers to produce other goods and remain globally competitive doing so. So when you raise the price of things like steel.

That means refrigerators and auto meals get more expensive. It also means that those refrigerator producers are auto producers might look to move offshore where they can get cheaper inputs or of course better tax or regulatory policy mentioned earlier that for years and years, decades.

In fact, major players in both major parties saw the benefits of trade what happened and how do we get back to the right to the situation well.

It will how we get back is a very difficult thing, but I week we can't really pinpoint how it happened you. It started in the late 90s with the Democratic Party. You really sought from the party of Bill Clinton move sharply away from support for free trade. If you look at the Democratic Party platform.

In fact I'm from about 96 to 2008.

It went from supportive of free trade to basically parroting the anti-globalization movement so they certainly deserve some of the blame, as does Pres. Obama really, although he's pushing the TPP today for his first six years or so. The president condone discrete protectionism impose a little bit of it. His own proved on Chinese tires and other things and really never expend any political capital defending free trade.

It's only been recently and the present is kind of the guy for that job because he represents the nation as a whole. And so by abdicating that you saw vacuum that no one really feel filled but then finally the really needs to be blame placed on pro-trade advocates in Congress and in the business community that failed to kind of to explain the full picture of trade about the benefits of imports not just exports about the morality of trade and the immorality of protectionism by leaving these things out. They essentially sowed the seeds of their own destruction. No trade. I joke is the only issue I've ever heard of where the good guys, the free traders essentially not only concede the bad guys arguments but actually implicitly support them through their own rhetoric, talking about trade surpluses and export promotion and so forth. So when you do that, it really makes it difficult to win the rhetorical battle will one person who would be happy to hear a defense of free trade would be the late economist Milton Friedman we are talking in connection with Friedman legacy day and our speaker has been Scott Linthicum who is an international trade attorney visiting lecturer at Duke and also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, thanks much for joining us it's my pleasure thanks Raven will have more on Carolina journal radio just at the John Locke foundation where leading the effort to clean up the mess left behind by big government liberals for decades.

The powerful left in our state had piled on rule after rule, regulation after regulation never really caring about the people whose lives are caught in the nightmare of complying. In other words, you their handiwork had made it tougher to get a job even increase the legal risk of operating a business. We say enough is enough that it's just not fair to you. That's why reform minded lawmakers have turned to the Locke foundation for answers and acted to lighten your burden were proud that our intellectual firepower has improved lives.

You can count on the John Locke foundation to watch out for your interest. The special interests. We would be honored to have your help in this fight. John and make a tax-deductible donation.

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It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy will also support freedom. Don't forget logon to today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio why Michiko guy North Carolina legislators might tweak their funding formula for state community colleges proposals involve more funds for part-time students are flexibility changes in performance-based funding, new community college system. Pres. Jimmy Williamson responded to the ideas we believe that we are certainly lean and mean and we we we function on 9% of the total budget for the site of northbound for the education budget and and I think we do a pretty effective pretty effective job, but we certainly are are challenged by that 9% we educate somewhere in the neighborhood of 750,000 N. Carolinians each year on that 9% and as the economy grows and we are expected to continue to respond to that.

We need your help and but the that the formula in in general. As has been stated certainly works. We it did could we can handle some tweaking.

Where never criticized for the product that we put out other than the fact that there just aren't enough of them enough employees or enough students coming through our our system and that's an area that we we have focused on as well is trying to to generate the close. This interest gap where we see jobs and opportunities available in North Carolina Sen. Fletcher Hartsell offered a proposal can the community college system use a tiered tuition system actions have been taken to date have established a standard tuition rate that we charge currently $76 per credit hour. Regardless of the curriculum course and regardless of the that's community college Chief of Staff Jennifer Haygood another State Sen. Ralph pies address the idea of differential tuition. One of the challenges in a tiered or changing the tuition right as it does nothing to help the campuses tuition funds going to one pool and the campuses are only played on the basis of FTs Haygood also offered a suggestion want to do it in such a way to be able to make to easily be able to explain to students why there are different rates for different courses. I would advise and can't thinking that you would charge differential rates based on program versus courses because you may have student here is an a safety net five science degree program in a technical field that part of that degree requirements might be in English class.

For instance, it would not be practically feasible for us to be able to charge a different rates on to the second student in English class versus other thing we do charge based on credit hours of an individual course you been listening to debate about possible tweaks to North Carolina's community college funding for overture with more Carolina journal radio. 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 all across the state. All in one place North Carolina one-stop shopping for North Carolina St. movement had North Carolina

You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina Journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analyst plus opinion pieces and reports on higher education. All of that from the Pope Center for higher education policy commentary and polling data from the Cintas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all of that, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina logon today will go back to Carolina journal radio why Michiko guy state lawmakers are taking a look at the way North Carolina prosecutes gang activity. The getting help from people like wiki County Dist. Atty. Lauren Freeman. There is no one solution and people who tackle and deal with this problem on day to day they will tell you that any real effort to combat the gang problem in North Carolina has got to be a multi-approach effort, North Carolina has a gang suppression act has been used very often.

But Freeman says there's more to the story than just the numbers. Anyone who is in law enforcement are the DAs office in White County will tell you that we have a gang problem.

Having said that we had over the last three years. A total of 12 charges brought under the gang suppression act, 12 years and three years 12 charges. All of those ultimately were dismissed. I went back and pulled the cases for this particular past year. All of those defendants who were charged two of the individuals actually were convicted of common wall robbery, which is a class G felony, whereas the offense for which they have been charged under the gang statute was a class H felony and many of you all of been at this long enough. I'm not going belabor this point very long. But you know that our felonies are ranked 80 355 English areas in terms of punishment time you can get that sorts of things all the way up to a first-degree murder and so what we see in many of these cases is that the real offense for which someone is being prosecuted. Whether his armed robbery common wall robbery shooting and occupied property is often much higher than these underlying gang offenses are currently listed are currently approved by the legislature to be as I think when you come down to a plea negotiation often those are the charges that fall out. It's not just the level of punishment linked to the crime.

Freeman says it's hard to prove gang activity when you think about why a prosecutor might offer a plea offer.

In any case, and while we might not move forward with a particular charge. There are number of issues you have to think about.

One is how do we prove a case. In fact, I will tell you that being on the front lines of this issue. Often that is one of the most difficult challenges we see regularly people going to prison for lengthy sentences when they have been given an opportunity to provide information about a codefendant or information to law enforcement about other more serious cases that they are investigating and they don't want to risk being killed or damaged, or their family coming under threat from a fellow gang member and so I think that's something that you have from the front lines is important for this body to kind of be aware of that. A lot of these cases in order to prove that they been done in some pattern of gang activity or for example that someone has been solicited to become a member of a gang require somebody to be willing to come into court and to testify about that transaction. And yet we live currently under a state law system, where unlike the federal system we really have no protection, no witness protection program along with the wake County district attorney lawmakers also heard from Charlotte Mecklenburg police Detective Chuck Hastings.

He identified several key problems in fighting gang activity.

The first involves what he calls intelligence and documentation throughout North Carolina departments are getting way from having gang units for intelligence use why his manpower and document gang members and will groups in your is obvious to everyone is in this room but it is very common. Extensive intensive skews me the document gang for several reasons wondered smarter there learning from us in law enforcement power document them and their actions in their article in court and maybe some other defense attorneys on what to do and what not to do number two were not really prosecuting the gang laws. Things are changing every day has a lot more than just blood scripts kings ms 13 strainer 13, some hispanic gangs that you might see on tv. we have a lot of hybrid type gangs along with the decline in information about gags, law enforcement agencies worry about the safety of crime victims and witnesses. there is no funding there's out. i had the privilege of working in the federal system for 10 years and only federal task force. the feds have this thing called us is not federal relocation is a fund of sorts that would allow them to relocate a victim or witness and their entire family if need be to have the goal of them not being intimidated witness intimidation statute. in my opinion, and all forces opinion. these be extended.

my opinion is from the very first time they arrested to the end of their prison or probation term to encompass that entire area which they could be intimidated. in most cases some people think intimidation only happened in person.

i want to think about. in many cases victims or witnesses are intimidated by phone calls, social media is big nowadays. another key problem for hastings a change in the concept known as snitching. back when i was young. the term snitching was if i'm in one group and i get shot at by a separate group. i would have no problem until law enforcement who shot at me, that would be no problem. today's former snitching is i will not tell on the raul rubin for shooting at me. they call that snitching now so it is coming to a big problem for all force we get anybody to cooperate.

i've had gang members come up to me and tell me hey just so you know blank shot at me last night was then in my front yard.

it went through my house and also almost hit my kid was no report. note were not put anything on what they refer to as black and white were not put anything on paper. i just will let you know what kind of predicament we put law enforcement in my opinion he's trying to set himself up for some retaliatory we have to go through that and we have to continue to work through those issues one final problem, hastings cited a lack of cooperation they know they felt to law enforcement. everything is going be documented somewhere. this can be their own recording or they will write it were right on the computers will be released in discovery. they call that is black and white you see it on social media. most gang members will make sure they have something on black-and-white before they retaliate against another member somebody this snitching on somebody all information is released. most cases the most counties around the state of her through our members of the gang association is almost immediate. after indictment, they're sending out every piece of discovery nonreactive best, including names, emails, addresses, phone numbers and statements which is a serious issue and thebase witness relocation or witness protection program of any kind and what benefits do we have a lattice you know we have no benefit for anybody, whether that be another gang member or citizen to cooperate our state system when it comes again you been listening to key pieces from a recent state legislative meeting highlighting the challenges linked to fighting gang activity will return with north carolina journal writing about at the john locke foundation where leading the effort to clean up the mess left behind by big government liberals for decades. the powerful left in our state had piled on rule after rule, regulation after regulation never really caring about the people whose lives are caught in the nightmare of complying. in other words, you their handiwork had made it tougher to get a job even increase the legal risk of operating a business. we say enough is enough that it's just not fair to you.

that's why reform minded lawmakers have turned to the locke foundation for answers and acted to lighten your burden were proud that our intellectual firepower has improved lives.

you can count on the john locke foundation to watch out for your interests.

the special interests. we would be honored to have your help in this fight. john and make a tax-deductible donation. right now the john locke foundation were fighting for you were fighting for freedom, welcome back to carolina journal radio i'm donna martinez. north carolina is a very fast-growing state and one of the largest in population as well and from the mountains to the coast metropolitan areas are now looking at issues like transportation and education. as more and more people are moving in.

in fact, on november 8, voters in a number of north carolina counties will vote on these types of issues with wake county getting a whole lot of attention for the issue. it's voters will decide julie tisdale is the john locke foundation city and county policy analyst. she joins me now with a look at one of these key local issues. julie welcome back to the program so we know that we got along ballot for november 8 to get president, governor, all sorts of statewide races, but these local ballot issues to you and you been looking at him give us a sense of how widespread the local ballot issues are and what they're about is a really long ballot. i printed mine this morning. it's almost 2 full pages. i got 40 different things i'm voting on.

take your lunch. it is clear ballot. early is the and do some research on across the state. there are 14 counties that are looking at increases in sales tax. there are 11 local governments that are voting there looking at bonds, issues, and then 15 counties and municipalities are looking at referenda concerning alcohol. there couple of other little things about how county commissioner boards are set up for the sorts of things that those are the big three categories that conservators are considering. so the big one is potential sales tax increases sound. why is that and are they saying what they're about. are the education specific. many of them are different. so a lot some of them may be education on but it's different each locality, a few years ago the gen. assembly on passing legislation that allows counties to implement 1/4 cent inc. crease in the sales tax on any county can do that.

and so in the years since we've seen lots of counties that on the sorts of measures they often don't pass voters are very reluctant to allow these kinds of sales tax increases and rightly so. and we seen a number of counties actually over the past few years, come back a second or even 1/3 time, put it on the ballot again and and some it's a kind of trying to wear down their voters, so to speak. that's exactly how i would describe it, and we we have seen that often, but i think a little discouraging at the letter say no. we probably ought to pay attention to that now in wake county you've been looking at this specifically because set wake is one of the counties with the sales tax increase that's on the ballot. voters will say yes or no to this item. what is wake county want to do wake county wants to actually 1/2 cent sales tax increase. so it's a large one, and they want to use that to find a transit plan that they come up with tips published on my thinking g manual earlier that would cover a whole gamut of transportation options for people on the big three search components are commuter rail, bus rapid transit and then just an expansion of the regular bus service that we have already our listeners may recall julie that we have talked over the years on this program about wake county and charlotte was involved in this. i believe the triad at one point had some sort of a proposal that was involving light rail is light rail, a part of this at all.

thankfully no light rail has been considered and one of the things that wake county commissioners. i really commend them for is that they have rejected that they've looked at it and said this is really doesn't that our population and i think they're right about that. durham and orange counties are continuing with it, but it gives a pretty big blow in wake county said no because that makes more sense if you've got the whole service area doing it together.

this does have commuter rail is the difference there is actually pretty simple. light rail requires its own track. it's different size of track then amtrak uses mcf to build new lines. the advantage of that is that you have anybody else on those lines so it's more reliable. it's quicker you don't have any kind of traffic on the lot commuter rail that wake county is considering uses the same existing tracks as amtrak and freight services on the big advantage. there is that obviously cost less if you're not having to put in that infrastructure. trains are still expensive but you don't you don't have the added cost of the track disadvantages that you're having to deal with all this other traffic on the lines.

it's not as reliable. it's not as quick you can get in the amtrak holding things up or whatever that is all that potential. so what is the role of this tax increase in funding this recommended plan because again voters in wake county are going to vote yes or no on this half cent sales tax on november 8. so what role is it in the whole plan over the next 10 years would be 36% of the funding.

it is the largest single source of funding plan fair to say that if the voters choose not to approve this is the plan go away. they have to go back to the drawing board. they do they do you.

there is not a plan b for other funding. if this tax doesn't pass. and because it's such a significant check when it is the largest single source of funding.

so if that goes away. they will have to get back to the drawing board and either come up with completely different funding options which see.

it seems difficult to see how they would be able to do that or to change the plan said that it is less expensive. not quite as comprehensive or something, but they will have to go back to the drawing, one would think that in a plan like this that there should be some revenue coming in from people who are actually hopping on the bus rapid transit or the commuter rail. what role does actually user fees. but surprisingly, only 4% of the funding is supposed to come from user fees not set 4% of the total funding. but even if we just look at the operating cost, and none of the capital, only about 20% of the operating funding will ever be expected to come from user fees and you have taken a look at this entire plan you've analyzed it, look at looked at the cost you've look at at ridership patterns in the existing system and all that in. essentially, you've concluded that it's probably not a good fit.

tell us why there is just no evidence that people in wake county really want to use this concept has a transit systems so we see a demonstrated preference for cars. and that's because we're not super dense if we were new york city or washington dc and we had a really really dense core and it might be different, but we are so spread out that people prefer to write cars that were convenient, you can go from home to work and swing by and pick up the kids or get dinner or whatever. on the way. i'm in a way that you just can't with buses and trains and people still like that in wake county. so we see that that's where people are choosing how people are choosing to get around. we have an existing bus network that people don't use very much. it's just a little bit. i'm not suggesting we get rid of it but there doesn't seem to be any heavy use of that.

there doesn't seem to be any demand for a lot more.

why then a recommendation for such a plan.

well, that's a question that i asked him why he really looks like a kind of their concern about image that this is what progressive up-and-coming trendy cities do is they have all of this kind of public transportation. they talk a lot about building this this whole system and that if they know that people will then use it, they'll change the travel patterns that they don't offer any evidence that that's the case, and i'm highly skeptical of that goal think that people have demonstrated what they want they want to drive their cars and on this plan doesn't allow them to do that will we been talking with julie tisdale about wake counties recommended transit plan. a plan that she says is really a plan to nowhere, wake county voters will give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the half cent sales tax increase that will be part of this plan that will be on their november 8 ballot.

you can read julie's report on Julie all the time we have for Carolina Journal radio this week. Thank you for listening Mitch. Okay I'm Donna Martinez come back next week for more Carolina Journal radio Carolina Journal radio is a program on the job. Learn more about the job donations that support programs like Carolina Journal radio sending email to development. John one: 66J 11 16654636 Carolina Journal radio nation airline is running this program. Nearly more foundation airline sponsored radio again

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