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ivitas CReview

FORMERLY “CONSERVATIVE CITIZEN”

N C C I V I T A S . O R G | FA L L 2 0 0 8

LIMITED GOVERNMENT

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Predatory Borrowing How State Lawmakers Have Doubled State Debt Without Your Approval

PLUS: The Future of Energy • Easley: Are We Better Off Now?


Civitas Review

Inside FALL

2008

POLLING INSIGHTS 4 Who’s In Charge?… North Carolina’s Invisible Corruption

T h e D i r e c to r ’ s N ot e

26

5 Welcome to Civitas Review

T h e Right P e r sp e c ti v e 6 Easley’s Legacy: Is North Carolina Better Off? 8 The Future of Energy: Top 10 Talking Points 11 America’s Greatest Education Governor? 30 2008 Elections: Life/Family Issues Continue to be Important

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Ci v ita s M a p S e r i e s 14 The Rise of the Unaffiliated Voter

Special 17 Conservative Effectiveness Ranking (CER) (of the North Carolina General Assembly 2007-2008 Session)

In Depth

22

Predatory Borrowing

I nt e r n ’ s N ot e 28 Youth Vote to Sway Election?

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Politics or Principles?

8 L E T T ER S TO T HE E D I TOR

Want to sound off? Respond to an article? Point out an error? Send us accolades? Write max.borders@nccivitas.org or send snail mail to the address below. Note: We’d like to thank all of you who filled out our readership survey and helped us improve. COVER AR T

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Civitas

Max Borders

(formerly Conservative Citizen)

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Editorial & Advertising 100 S. Harrington Street Raleigh, NC 7603 919-834-2099 (phone) 919-834-2350 (fax)

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EDITOR jameson.taylor@nccivitas.org

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All non-advertising content published in Civitas Review may be republished as long as appropriate credit is given.

Review

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MANAGING EDITOR max.borders@nccivitas.org

Copyright 2008

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •




POLLING INSIGHTS

Who’s in Charge?…

North Carolina’s Invisible Corruption

O

ver the past several years we’ve seen Democratic elected officials Jim Black, Thomas Wright, Meg Scott Phipps and Frank Ballance convicted and sent to prison on corruption charges. Some have speculated that, due to this string of corruption charges in the Democratic Party, Republicans in North Carolina could be poised to make gains at the state level. The thinking here is that voters would get so by Chris disgusted with the scandals and corruption that they would Hayes punish all Democrats for the misdeeds of a few. However, at the same time Democrats in North Carolina were breaking the law, voters saw Republican Congressmen and their associates hauled away in larger numbers on similar charges of corruption. So exactly who are the voters going to blame? It is clear voters are upset. President Bush’s job approval ratings are in the low 30s. Congress’s approval ratings are abysmal in the high teens. And voters think the nation is headed in the wrong direction by a 4 to 1 margin. A message Which Party, the Republican or the Democratic, Controls: of “change” surely resonates when the status quo is so overwhelmingly unpopular. Even here at home voters are not pleased with the direction of our state. According to the August 2008 Civitas Poll, only 32 percent of voters think the state is on the right track, while 50 percent feel we’re off in the wrong direction. Just 10 Source: Civitas DecisionMaker Poll, July 2008 months ago, in November of 2007, it was 48% - 37% right track over wrong direction. Voter sentiment has swung 29 points in less than a year. Surely, the downturn in the housing market and the corresponding economic slowdown has played some role in changing the psyche of voters. Corruption throughout the ranks of government has turned voters against politicians in general. Thus, conventional wisdom would suggest that when there is a large gulf between right track and wrong direction in an election year, it spells doom for the incumbent party as voters are ready to “throw the bums out.” But what happens when the voters don’t know who the bums are – and more specifically, which party is to blame for the problems we are seeing?  • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

According to Civitas poll results, when asked which political party controlled the N.C. House or N.C. Senate, fewer than half of voters gave the correct answer. Only 49 percent of voters were able to identify the Democrats as the party in control of the N.C. House, while just 40 percent were able to correctly say the Democrats also controlled the N.C. Senate. Approximately 15 percent of voters thought the Republicans controlled both chambers of the General Assembly. Roughly 2 out of 5 voters honestly admitted they did not know. If we assume that the 15 percent who answered Republican were merely guessing, we can assume that a similar 15 percent also guessed, but didn’t really know, that the Democratic party was in charge. Under that basic assumption, only 25 to 35 percent of voters actually know which party controls the General Assembly. Thus, somewhere around 70 percent of all voters are not able to tell you that the Democrats are in charge of the state Legislature. More encouraging is that a slightly larger amount, 61 percent of voters, correctly identified the Governor’s office as controlled by a Democrat (Mike Easley). Easley’s identification most likely was bolstered by his high profile endorsements of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (and, later, Barack Obama). So how is an opposition party supposed to run on a platform of “change” when the voters don’t know which party represents an actual change? One sign of clarity comes from a survey conducted by Raleigh-based Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP). They asked which group – Republicans in Washington, Democrats in Washington, Republicans in Raleigh or Democrats in Raleigh – voters thought were the most corrupt. Forty-three percent of voters said Republicans in Washington, 35 percent said Democrats in Washington. Nearly 80 percent of voters thought Washington politicians were more corrupt than Raleigh politicians. In other words, running against the corruption in Raleigh is a failed strategy as most voters think the corruption is in Washington. With voters ignorant of which party controls North Carolina, candidates cannot simply run campaigns based on broad themes of corruption or change. To be successful, candidates must build individual cases to prove they deserve to be elected, and not rest on some supposed undercurrent of revolt to cast out their opponents.


t h e di r e c tor ’s n ot e

Welcome to Civitas Review, the Civitas Institute’s new magazine. Along with a new name comes a new look and design that is more reader-friendly. After surveying you, our readers, we listened to your suggestions and are incorporating your recommendations into this and future issues. A special thank you to all who returned a survey and if you did not return a survey, see the ad inside and let us know if you still want to receive Civitas Review. While the name, look and format have changed from the Conservative Citizen, our magazine’s content and editorial policy remain unabashedly conservative. The Civitas Institute will continue to look at the issues affecting North Carolina from a perspective that emphasizes limited government, personal responsibility and civic engagement. We will also continue to pursue our core mission of empowering citizens, educating emerging public leaders, and informing elected officials about citizenbased, free-market solutions to problems facing North Carolinians. To that end, Civitas Review will keep publishing the articles, analyses, and reports on North Carolina policy and politics that you have come to expect. The magazine is not the only thing changing here at Civitas. We recently established an affiliated 501(c)(4), Civitas Action, that will allow us to participate in activities that our current 501(c)(3) status precludes. The difference between a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4) is that a (c)(4) gives an organization the flexibility to be more active. The Civitas Institute will remain a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3). While contributions to Civitas Action are not tax deductible, they are encouraged. Contributions to the Civitas Institute, however, will remain tax deductible, and are welcomed and appreciated!  Civitas Action’s first activity was to release an effectiveness ranking of legislators from the last legislative session. Inside this issue of Civitas Review, Civitas Action has placed an ad to publicize this project, the Civitas Effectiveness Rankings. Legislators in both the N. C. Senate and the N. C. House are given a score and are ranked based FRANCIS X. DE LUCA on votes taken concerning legislation in the General Assembly. Further explanation Executive Director, Civitas Institute accompanies the Effectiveness Rankings inside Civitas Review. Look inside to see how your legislator ranked and visit www.civitasaction.org for an interactive display that shows the most effective legislator in each chamber and the rankings and photos of legislators. You can also use the interactive North Carolina map feature to find who represents what county and each member’s effectiveness rating. This first issue bearing the name Civitas Review is also the final issue before the 2008 election and is packed with articles about the major issues and themes important to North Carolina voters. “Who is in Charge?” describing the challenges of advocating for change when voters don’t know who is in charge; “Easley’s Legacy: Is N.C. Better Off?” detailing how poverty rates, the uninsured and debt have gone up since 2001 and “2008 Elections: Life/Family Issues Continue to Be Important,” are a few of the articles inside this issue. And don’t miss our cover story, “Predatory Borrowing,” which discusses how the increasing state debt is threatening the future of North Carolina’s children and hard-working families. This vitally important story has received little coverage in the news. North Carolina has seen huge increase in state debt, all without voter approval – even though our state constitution requires voter approval for state-issued debt. The issuing of debt for new construction, and the accompanying spending, is a major factor in the explosive growth of the state budget. New buildings must be staffed and maintained, resulting in permanently higher levels of spending. This new spending, coupled with repaying the new debt, will cost N.C. taxpayers billions of dollars over and above the current $21.3 billion state budget. This year the state senate spent less than 45 minutes, over two days, debating the $21.3 billion spending plan. Remember as you prepare to cast your vote this November that it is not just what a candidate says during a campaign that matters, it is what they do once in office. As citizens and conservatives it is our responsibility to be informed and active participants in the political process. Finally – Don’t forget to vote! — FRANCIS X. DE LUCA

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fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •




THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

Easley’s Legacy:

Is North Carolina Better Off?

Governor Easley presided over a massive tax hike costing North Carolina taxpayers more than $5 billion.” the state’s economic health. Looking at outgoing Governor Easley’s legacy, we should ask ourselves: Is North Carolina better off now than it was eight years ago? The answers may surprise you.

Economy Has Faltered BY BRIAN BALFOUR

In several key economic indicators, North Carolina has fallen behind regional and national averages. For example, the rate of job growth in North Carolina (8.5%) during Easley’s administration not only trailed the Southeast’s average rate (11.0%), but fell well short of other Southeastern states such as Florida (15.0%) and Georgia (12.5%). Moreover, North Carolina’s annual unemployment

 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

rate has exceeded the national average for each of Easley’s seven years in office and is on pace to do so again in 2008. By contrast, North Carolina’s annual unemployment rate was higher than the national average only once during the 25 years prior to 2000. Likewise, per capita income in North Carolina has also fallen further behind the national average. The state’s average income dropped from 31st highest in the U.S. in 2001 to 36th highest in 2007, as income growth during that time lagged behind the national rate and was second lowest among Southeastern states. North Carolina saw its poverty rate climb past several other states during the Easley years. The overall poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2001 to 15.5 percent in 2007. Child poverty did not fare much better. North Carolina’s child poverty rate jumped past 10 other states to reach the 7th highest rate in the nation by 2007. Much rhetoric has come out of Raleigh in recent years about addressing the number of people without health insurance. The results, however, are not encouraging. When Easley took office in 2001, North Carolina’s uninsured rate was just below the national average. By 2007, that rate surpassed the national average by more than a full percentage point. During that time, the rate of uninsured North Carolinians leaped from 14.4 percent to 16.4 percent.

Taxes Going Up Governor Easley presided over a massive tax hike costing North Carolina taxpayers more than $5 billion thus far – courtesy of the “temporary” sales and income taxes as well as the permanent ½ cent bump in local sales taxes. Conversely, Easley has not offered up any broad-based tax relief for working North Carolinians. None of the three major state tax rates (income, sales or corporate) decreased while he was in office. As a result, from 2002 to 2006 (the latest data available), state taxes paid as a share of North Carolina’s economy (Gross State Product) increased by 9 percent. Such an increase in the state tax burden has placed North Carolina in rare company. State tax collections as a share of income for the Tar Heel state in FY 2005 (the most current data available) ranked higher than Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut.

WWW.GOVERNOR.STATE.NC.US

W

hat’s on everybody’s mind? It’s the economy, of course. According to the Civitas Institute’s July poll results, North Carolinians say that improving the economy is the issue requiring most attention from state government. When choosing our next governor, it is critical first to consider the impact our current governor’s policies have had on


Spending on the Rise State spending has escalated rapidly under Governor Easley, fueling the growing burden on North Carolina taxpayers. General Fund spending shot up a whopping 47 percent during the Easley administration – an increase of nearly $7 billion. Even when adjusting for population growth, per capita spending rose by 30 percent. All told, North Carolina’s annual General Fund spending now equals more than $9,200 for a family of four, a figure more than $2,100 higher than when Easley took office. State debt has skyrocketed as well. In just six years, Governor Easley and the General Assembly managed to double the size of North Carolina’s state debt, all without voter approval. As we consider which gubernatorial candidate will replace Governor Easley, voters need to ask themselves: is more of the same good enough, or does North Carolina deserve better?

NORTH CAROLINA ECONOMIC 2001 INDICATORS Total State Debt (inflation-adjusted dollars)

$3.65 billion

$6.9 billion

State Tax Burden as a Percentage of Income

5.48%

5.98%

General Fund Spending Per Capita (inflation-adjusted dollars)

$2,195

$2,308

4.4%

6.6%

31st highest in U.S.

36th highest in U.S.

12.5% U.S. rate: 11.7%

15.5% U.S. rate: 12.5%

Families in Poverty

9.5% tied, 18th highest in U.S.

12.6% 5th highest in U.S.

Child Poverty Rate

16.4% tied, 17th highest in U.S.

21% tied, 7th highest in nation

Overall Uninsured Rate

14.4% U.S. average: 14.6%

17.9% U.S. average: 15.8%

Uninsured Children

11.2% U.S. average: 11.7%

12.1% U.S. average: 11%

10th most congested

3rd most congested

Unemployment Rate Per Capita Income Poverty Rate (overall)

ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

NOW (most recent data)

Infrastructure: Urban Intrastate Congestion

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fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •




THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

The Future of Energy:

Top 10 talking points for your next cocktail party

L

ately, we find ourselves at the water cooler or at a cocktail party talking about the price of gas. What should we do about it? Invariably, somebody will rehash media myths proffered by the left. But most of us aren’t experts. That’s why we’ve put together 10 talking points to arm against energy ignorance and media bias. 1 If we want gas prices to be lower, we have to increase supply. People are already responding to high prices by reducing their fuel consumption—and cutting back hurts. We also have to increase our domestic supply. Therefore, we need to drill off the N.C. coast and do it now. Our crisis comes down to the law of supply and demand. As long as we continue to depend on unstable foreign governments for the majority of our vehicle-fuel needs, we will continue to see high prices—particularly as developing-world economies come online and consume more of the available oil.

68 percent of North Carolinians support offshore drilling, according to the July 2008 poll.”

3 Drilling will help create jobs in Eastern North Carolina. Gas and oil exploration, along with associated industries, will spring up in our state. Royalties to the state will also increase. One need only look at 2007 revenues (royalties) to states where limited drilling is allowed: TX ($65 million); LA ($158 million). Note: 68 percent of North Carolinians support offshore drilling, according to the July 2008 Civitas poll.  • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

4 “Speculators” serve a valuable function in oil markets. Leave them be. They not only ensure that investment goes to areas where there are shortages in supply, but they make the market more predictable (less volatile) for people who depend on these commodities for their businesses, not to mention consumers. Most importantly, speculators help investment get to where it’s needed. Blaming speculators for the price of gas is like blaming a thermometer for the temperature. 5 We should not tax oil profits. Taxing profits is a tax on the incentive that prompts oil companies to make risky investments in finding new oil supplies (expensive ocean platforms, etc.). If they won’t profit from doing so, they won’t explore. Taxing profits means oil companies will do less of what brings us more gas at lower prices. Oil companies’ profit margins are only 9.5 percent, a return in line with other major industries. (Compare the publishing industry, for example, whose margins are around 20 per-

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BY MAX BORDERS

2 Drilling now can lower prices at the pump now. It’s true: new supplies won’t come online for a while. But the price will go down now, if we drill now. Why? Oil would be less scarce in the future. The so-called speculators and other investors who are currently investing in oil due to the current scarcity (scarcity that’s reflected in the price per barrel) would bid down the price—given the prospect of a real increase in oil supply. (Consider the $16 per barrel price decrease on the day President Bush announced he was lifting the Bush/Clinton executive drilling moratorium.)


When the government attempts to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, it spends a lot of money to make winners and invariably gets a lot of losers.” cent.) The price of a barrel of oil + fuel taxes = 83 percent of the price of a gallon. The remaining 17 percent goes to marketing, refining, and logistics (and yes, profit). 6 “Current leases” are not the issue. “Use-it-or-lose-it” rhetoric is designed to make you think there’s a lot of oil out there currently under lease from the federal government that oil companies simply aren’t accessing. But the truth is, current oil company leases are: a) currently being explored; b) too deep or difficult (and therefore too costly) to warrant exploration at this time; or c) don’t have any oil.

of a decade ago had been different, would we be facing such high prices? The answer is: probably not. We owe the people of North Carolina energy security. The investment starts now. 10 Energy prices send market signals that drive innovation. Government subsidy of “alternative energy” is not nearly as likely to result in the advent of more efficient technologies as market price signals. When the government attempts to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, it spends a lot of money to make winners and invariably gets a lot of losers. We’re better off letting entrepreneurs innovate based on prices and profit motive. iPods, Priuses, and Prilosec didn’t emerge from a government-funded bureaucracy, and neither will the next big energy innovation. Information in this article comes from the EIA, U.S. Dept of Interior and the Institute for Energy Research.

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7 Drilling is safer than ever before. Due to improved technologies and techniques, there has been a drastic reduction in the number (and severity) of oil spills since the 1980s. In fact, the Department of the Interior reports that damage due to the spills caused by Katrina and Rita were “minor.” N.C. should have few concerns about hurricanes causing severe oil spills, particularly since what is likely to be discovered offshore in N.C. is natural gas, not oil. And while we don’t put natural gas into our cars, such discoveries will relieve pressures on the energy market as a whole (and on our pocketbooks). 8 Royalties can be used for an environmental fund. Concerns about the environment are not unfounded. That’s why royalties from new leases can go towards establishing either an environmental protection fund, or a citizens’ dividend similar to that in Alaska. The fund could be targeted toward coastal initiatives like protection against beach erosion, and also used for cleanups in the event of a spill. With a citizen dividend, North Carolinians directly receive a portion of royalties each year. 9 Price fluctuations one way or the other should not deter us. Just think, if the outcome of the ANWR drilling debate www.nccivitas.org

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •




s a t i v i cing CReview

Introdu

med en rena e b s a h e magazin N E Z I T I is issue. C h t E h t i V I w T ng SERVA N beginni O C w ’ s e a i t v Civi s as Re t i mphasi v e i w C e n a look and . w e n a opinion as h d e n a n i z n a o ag ati e inform ee, the m s iv s n n a e mation. c r h u o e f r o n y p i s m d A nde e co ing mor nd expa a d i k v o o r lo p on ew ke the n li iew, u o v y e e p R o h s We ivita C e iv cription s e c b e u r s o e t ue a fre ill contin nds for e w i r s f r d e n b i amily a e page. subscr f h t r t n f u e o o r y r m u up otto All c will sign at the b u o m y r o e f p n ho ptio and we subscri tive e h t g n and mo e t a by usi c u d rm, e and will info t a endent h p t e e d n i n i z a elp ag ive. lish a m e even h nservat b b o u y c p a y o m ll t a d s li , an e re Our goa olinians alues ar r v a d C n h a t r stem ative No belief sy r i e conserv h t t eview ze tha R li a e s r a s n t i itize ut Civ o liberal c b a s n o ini your op ht have. s g s i e m r p u x o y oe gestions ge you t g a r u u s o y c n n a r We e and offe SUBSCRIPTION FORM PLEASE SEND FREE SUBSCRIPTION(S) TO:

OUR SINCERE THANKS to everyone who answered and returned the Readership Surveys from the summer magazine. Your opinions were very helpful as we finalized plans for the new Civitas Review.

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THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

America’s Greatest

Education Governor? Is Mike Easley America’s greatest education governor? Earlier this summer, the National Education Association (NEA) said so and

honored the North Carolina Governor for “his achievements in transforming North Carolina’s public school system.” Before we send our congratulatory letters, let’s look at the record.

BY DR. ROBERT LUEBKE

G

overnor Easley has certainly succeeded in diverting more resources to public education. Over the past eight years, Easley has helped boost state appropriations for K-12 education from $5.8 billion in 2001 to $7.8 billion in 2008, an increase of 34 percent. Per student expenditures have increased from $6,650 to approximately $8,000 per student over the same period. Easley has also been an outspoken proponent of raising teacher salaries. During Easley’s tenure, average teacher salaries increased from $41,150 to $47,350. Easley has also been a strong supporter of ABC bonuses. Since 2000, North Carolina has allocated $750 million has for teachers and staff from schools that met expected growth targets. The Governor has also been a strong advocate for programs like More at Four, a statewide preschool program for at-risk children, and Learn and Earn, an initiative that allows qualified high school students to earn two years of college credit or an associates’ degree free of charge while enrolled in high school. Students can apply at designated high schools or enroll in approved online courses. The steady increase in education spending has all been part of the governor’s plan to turn around an ailing public school system. However, the plan has not worked. North Carolina’s dropout rate is still one of the highest in the nation. It hasn’t moved appreciably in eight years. Today, only 69 percent of eligible high school students graduate with a diploma. Rates for Hispanics (54 percent) and African Americans (58 percent) are far lower than the statewide average.

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In 2006-07, the U.S. Department of Education declared 19 percent of North Carolina public schools to be in “Need of Improvement.” Preliminary results for 2007-08 reveal 30.1 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 are not performing at grade level on math tests. For 10th grade students, the percent of students not performing at grade level in math increases to 32 percent of students. Over the past eight years, North Carolina scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) in key areas like math, reading and writing have generally been flat or registered only modest increases. North Carolina SAT scores for verbal and math tests have stagnated since 2005. While 2008 SAT verbal scores increased one point and average math scores increased by two points, North Carolina students still lag the national average by ten points. The NEA praises Governor Easley for his foresight in creating new programs like More at Four and Learn and Earn. These programs have their supporters, but many think they are misguided and wasteful. Costs for More at Four ($4,500 per student) have risen rapidly, yet the state lacks strong evidence that the program is working. Learn and Earn has also drawn criticism. Since administrators are hesitant to turn away applicants, there is a growing suspicion among parents, educators and policymakers that Learn and Earn students are increasingly drawn from the ranks of middle and upper middle class students who would have attended college without the program’s assistance – a fact noticeably at odds with the program’s purported goal of helping low income and first generation college students. Yes, Governor Easley has succeeded in raising teacher salaries and funneling billions more in tax dollars to North Carolina schools. The truth is, the money hasn’t produced the desired results. Nearly one-third of all students are performing below grade level in math and reading. Onethird of all students fail to graduate. Even though many of our students meet state standards, too many are performing below national standards. There are many proven ways to effectively reform and improve public education in our state. Charter schools, tax credits, alternative certification programs and expanded authority for principals are a few of the proven solutions that could provide public schools immediate help. Unfortunately, Governor Easley’s consistent opposition to these efforts underscores his aversion to true education reform fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

11


THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

and his strong support for teachers unions and their goal of maintaining control over public education. Is Governor Easley the best education governor in America? Let’s remember that Governor Easley’s support for teachers unions has delivered votes at election time and mil-

lions in campaign contributions. Let’s also remember the Governor’s efforts to thwart education reform and a public education system reeling from spiraling costs, low student achievement and flagging public confidence. America’s “greatest education governor”? You make the call.

Governor Easley and public education: what do the numbers say? Governor Easley’s First Term

Governor Easley’s Second Term (Three of Four Years Included)

FINANCES FY2000-01 FY2001-02 FY2002-03 FY2003-04 FY2004-05 FY2005-06 FY2006-07 FY2007-08 K-12 Enrollment 1,237,794 1,253,507 1,271,995 1,289,594 1,311,363 1,332,009 1,363,395 1,389,305 K-12 Current Expend. (billions) $5.35B $5.68B $5.69B $5.75B $5.98B $6.30B $6.69B $7.33B State Per. Pupil. Expend. $4,324 $4,533 $4,472 $4,455 $4,563 $4,727 $4,904 $5,274 Total Per Pupil Expend. $6,280 $6,654 $6,696 $6,363 $7006 $7,328 $7,596 $8,017 STAFFING Teachers 82,158 83,907 85,557 87,947 90,657 94,129 95,542 97,676 Avg. Teacher. Salary $41,167 $42,959 $43,076 $43,211 $43,343 $43,922 $46,137 $47,354 Full-Time Ed. Personnel (state funded) 123,700 124,934 126,513 128,936 132,045 135,149 139,152 143,280 ACADEMICS % Schools Made ABC Growth 35.6 39.3 21.4 39.9 43.2 43.1 47.6 26.8 % Schools Met AYP Targets -- -- 80.2 85.2 75.3 79.3 80.5 N/A Dropouts 21,368 20,202 18,964 20,035 20,175 22,180 23,550 N/A Dropout Rate 5.71 5.25 4.78 4.86 4.74 5.04 5.24 N/A N.C. Avg. SAT 988 992 998 1001 1006 1010 1008 1004 U.S. Avg. SAT 1019 1020 1020 1026 1026 1028 1021 1017

SPENDING • Student enrollment increased 12 percent. K-12 operating expenditures increased 37 percent. • State per pupil expenditures increased 22 percent. Total (state, local and federal) per pupil expenditures increased 27 percent, from $5,931 to $7,582 per pupil. STAFFING • Number of teachers increased from 82,158 to 97,676 (19%). • From 2000-2007, North Carolina school districts hired:

-13,488 new state-funded teachers - 300 new administrators -1,900 new instructional support staff - 3,900 new non-certified staff

• Percentage of schools that met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets under the federal No Child Left Behind act (NCLB) has essentially remained flat, rising slightly from 80.2 percent (FY 2002-2003) to 80.5 percent (FY 2006-07).

• Average teacher salary increased from $41,167 to $47,354 (15%).

• The annual number of dropouts increased 10 percent between FY2000-01 and FY2006-07.

ACADEMICS • Despite some progress, the percentage of schools making expected growth under the ABCs School Accountability model declined from 35.6 percent of schools (FY2000-01) to 26.8 percent of schools (FY 2007-08).

• SAT scores have increased 19 points since FY2000-01. The gap between NC and the national average has narrowed from 31 points (2000) to 10 points (2008). Still, SAT scores have generally been flat since 2005. Persistent achievement gaps between the races remain.

Due to lag time in data reporting, data is only available through 2007-08. Comparison is 2000-01 to 2007-08. Data Sources: Enrollment and financial data provided by Education Statistics Access System (ESAS) administered by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and accessible from the DPI web site (www.ncpublicschools.org). Staffing statistics from North Carolina Public Schools: Statistical Profile for various years and Facts and Figures. Both documents are published annually by DPI. Statistics used in Academics section available from Office of Accountability Services, DPI. Information on dropout rates provided by Annual Report on Dropout Events and Rates, an annual report by DPI to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. SAT scores provided by DPI and the College Board. Information on prior year scores available from the College Board website at http://professionals. collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/archived.

12 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008


A Comparison of Graduation Rates: North Carolina and Selected States State Class of 2001 Class of 2005 Net Change # Dropouts Lost Each School Day North Carolina Georgia South Carolina

63.5 55.5 50.8

67.0 58.1 55.6

+3.5 +2.6 +4.9

230 331 158

Virginia US Average

72.6 68.0

72.9 70.6

+0.3 +2.6

162 6,829

Source: Diplomas Count 2008, published by Editorial Projects in Education, 2008.

Student Achievement on NAEP Math and Reading Exams By State, for Years 2003, 2005 and 2007

Percent Scoring At or Above Basic On NAEP 4th Grade Reading Exam

Percentage Increases in Enrollment and Operating Expenditures FY2001-02 - FY2007-08 Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Created by Dr. Robert Luebke © 2008 JWP Civitas Institute

Percent Scoring At or Above Basic On NAEP 4th Grade Math Exam

State 2003 2005 2007 2003 2005

2007

N.C.

66%

62% 64% 85% 83%

85%

VA.

69%

72%

74% 83%

83%

87%

S.C.

59%

57%

59% 79%

81%

80%

GA.

59%

58%

66% 72%

76%

79%

U.S.

62%

62%

66% 76%

79%

81%

Percent Scoring At or Above Basic On NAEP 8th Grade Reading Exam

Percent Scoring At or Above Basic On NAEP 8th Grade Math Exam

State 2003 2005 2007 2003 2005 2007 N.C.

72%

69% 71% 72%

72%

73%

GA.

69%

67%

70% 59%

62%

64%

S.C.

69%

67%

69% 68%

71%

71%

VA.

79%

78%

79% 72%

75%

77%

U.S.

72%

71%

73% 67%

68%

70%

State Funded Teachers in North Carolina: 2000 - 2007

Source: “Challenge to Lead Goals for Education” for selected states. Published by Southern Regional Education Board, 2008. Available from: http://www.sreb.org/Goals/State_Goals_Report_2008.asp

Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Created by Dr. Robert Luebke © 2008 JWP Civitas Institute

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C I V I TA S M A P S E R I E S

The Rise of the Unaffiliated Voter Unaffiliated voters are registering in record numbers, rivaling Democrats in their weekly increase in registration. There are 1.3 million unaffiliated voters – 22 percent of the electorate - and they are increasing more rapidly than Democrats or Republicans. While some counties still have few unaffiliated voters, others have unaffiliated registration that surpasses the registration of one party or the other.

BY CHLOE GOSSAGE

S

ince 2004, unaffiliated voters have gained 3 percentage points, moving from 19 percent of the electorate to 22 percent. This gain has come at about the same loss for Democrats and Republicans, who have lost 1.4 and 1.3 percentage points respectively and now make up 45 percent and 33 percent of registration. And it appears that most unaffiliated voters are in fact new voters, not those switching parties. A review of Wake County data reveals that 80 percent of new unaffiliated voters are newly registered in the county. Like many trends, there is significant variation in registration across the state. Unaffiliated voters make up a significantly higher percentage of new registrants in certain key areas compared to their percentage of pre-2008 registrants. Notably, the northeast and the west – areas in which Republicans have made significant gains in the last

14 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

eight years – are now instead registering high percentages of unaffiliated voters. The percentage of voters without party affiliation varies from a low of 8 percent in Edgecombe County to a high of 33 percent in Currituck County. This means that attention paid by local candidates to unaffiliated voters will vary substantially from county to county. (See maps) Unaffiliated voters increased by 150,000 between November 2004 and January 2008. They increased by another 125,000 in 2008. This amounts to an increase of 27 percent over 2004 and 11 percent over the beginning of this year. When we compare this to a 4 percent increase in Democratic registration and a 2 percent increase in Republican registration since 2004, we see the potential for unaffiliated voters to have a greater voice in many elections this year – at the national, statewide, and local levels.


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C O N S E R VAT I V E R A N K I N G

CIVITAS ACTION

Conservative Effectiveness Ranking OF THE NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2007-2008 SESSION For Complete information on the Conservative Effectiveness Ranking, votes used, and to find your local legislators visit:

w w w. c i v i t a s a c t i o n . o r g The Civitas Conservative Effectiveness Ranking is the only rating system in North Carolina that allows the citizens of North Carolina to gauge how effective their state legislator is in relation to Conservative – Liberal issues. Each member of the House and Senate is ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. The purpose of the “Ranking” is to inform the public, in as unbiased a method as possible, exactly where individual legislators stand on the ideological spectrum from liberal to conservative.

Andrew Brock

Eddie Goodall

The Top 3 Senators

The Bottom 3 Senators

SCORE RANK

SCORE RANK

Andrew Brock

85.0

T-11

Bob Atwater

15.0

T-49

Eddie Goodall

85

T-11

Tony Rand

15.0

T-49

84.0

3

Marc Basnight

12.8

51

Robert Pittenger Robert Pittenger

George Cleveland

Tony Rand

Marc Basnight

The Bottom 3 Representatives

The Top 3 Representatives Bryan Holloway

Bob Atwater

SCORE RANK

SCORE RANK

Bryan Holloway

96.0

1

Sandra Hughes Spaulding

7.7

121

George Cleveland

94.0

2

Kelly Alexander

0.0

T-122

Dale Folwell

93.5

3

Joe Hackney

0.0

T-122

Kelly Alexander

Joe Hackney

Dale Folwell

WWW.ncCIvitas.org

Sandra Hughes Spaulding

PAID FOR BY CIVITAS ACTION

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

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18 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

PAID FOR BY CIVITAS ACTION

Holloway Cleveland Folwell Avila Hilton Killian Brown Almond1 Blust Blackwood West Boylan Dollar Frye Langdon Moore Starnes Justus Wiley Gillespie McComas Walker Kiser Setzer Tillis Samuelson Stam Holmes Clary Walend Lewis McElraft McGee Pate Dockham Allred Steen Daughtry Neumann Current Johnson Gulley Hurley Thomas Howard Grady Brubaker Daughtridge Stiller Ray Barnhart Justice Hill Furr2 Spear Church Williams Sutton Braxton Coates McLawhorn

C O N S E R VAT I V E R A N K I N G

HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES

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HB 91 (2R) HB 91 (A1) HB 259 (2R) HB 265 (A2) HB 341 (2R) HB 454 (3R) HB 483 (2R) HB 634 (MC) HB 649 (2R) HB 853 (2R) HB 878 (2R) HB 973 (2R) HB 973 (A1) HB 1287 (3R) HB 1291 (3R) HB 1366 (3R) HB 1366 (A1) HB 1473 (A7) HB 1473 (A24) HB 1473 (2R) HB 1473 (ACR2R) HB 1517 (3R) HB 1737 (2R) HB 1761 (ACR) HB 1828 (2R) HB 1837 (3R) HB 1837 (A2) HB 1847 (2R) HB 2044 (3R) SB 3 (3R) SB 229 (2R) SB 659 (2R) SB 1211 (3R) SB 1485 (3R) SB 1492 (ACR2R) HB 4 - ES (2R) HB 4 - ES (A2) HB 2353 (3R) HB 2367 (3R) HB 2436 (2R) HB 2436 (A14) HB 2436 (A16) HB 2436 (ACR) HB 2440 (A1) HB 2499 (MC) HB 2499 (A9) SB 488 (ACR) SB 1263 (2R) SB 1875 (3R) SB 2075 (2R)

96.0 94.0 93.5 92.0 90.0 89.6 89.1 87.0 86.0 84.0 84.0 82.6 82.0 82.0 82.0 82.0 81.2 80.0 80.0 79.6 79.6 79.2 78.0 78.0 78.0 77.3 76.6 76.2 76.0 76.0 75.5 75.5 75.5 75.5 74.5 74.0 73.5 72.9 72.3 70.8 70.2 70.0 70.0 70.0 68.2 68.0 67.3 66.7 66.0 62.5 60.9 58.0 38.0 36.4 34.7 31.1 30.0 29.2 26.0 26.0 26.0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T10 T10 12 T13 T13 T13 T13 17 T18 T18 T20 T20 22 T23 T23 T23 26 27 28 T29 T29 T31 T31 T31 T31 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 T42 T42 T42 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 T59 T59 T59

Index Ranking


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fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

19

Goforth - - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - + - - - + - + - - + - - + + + - + - - - + - - - - A A - - - - - 25.0 Brisson - - + - + + - - - + + - + - - - + - - - - - + NV - - - + - - + A + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 24.5 Crawford - - + - NV + - NV - NV + - + - - - NV - + - - + + - - - - + - - + + + - - NV NV - + - - - - - - - - - - - 24.0 Tucker - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - NV - + - - + + A + - - + - - + + + - - A A + - - - - - - - - - - - - 23.4 Jones - - + - A + A - - A + A A + - - A - - - - - A - - - - + - - + + + - + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 23.3 Warren, E. - - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + + - - + - + - - - - A - - - - - - 22.4 Cole - - + - - + - - - + - - + - - - + - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 22.0 Underhill - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - + - - - + A A + + - - A A A + A A - + - + - - - - - - - - - - - 20.9 Harrell, J. - - - - - + - + - + + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - A - - + A + - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - - - 20.8 Wright3 - - - A - + - + - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - A A -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 20.6 Blue NV NV - - - + - - - - + NV NV - - - - - NV - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - + - - + + - + - - - - - A - - - 20.4 Faison - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - A + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - + - - - - - 20.4 Harrison - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + + - - - - - - + + + - - + - - + - + - - - - - - - - + 20.0 Owens - - - - - + - - - + + - - - + - - - + - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20.0 Warren, R. - - - - + + - - - + + - - - - - - - NV - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 20.0 Wilkins - - - - - + - + - + + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 20.0 Wray - - - - - + - + - + + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 20.0 Harrell, T. - - A - - + - - - - + - - A - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - + - + - + - - - - - - - - - 18.8 Love A A - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - + - + - - NV - + - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.8 Tarleton - - - - - + - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - + A - - - - A - - - - - 18.8 Coleman - - - - - + - - - - + - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + A + - + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.4 Parmon - - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - NV + - - - - - - - + + + - + - - - + - - - - - - - - A - - 18.4 Bryant4 - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - + + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.0 Pierce - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - + - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.0 Rapp - - - - - + - - - + + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.0 Tolson - - + - - + - - - + + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18.0 Yongue - - - - - + - - - + + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 18.0 Glazier - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - NV + - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - - A A A - - A - - - - - 17.4 Lucas A A - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - + - - + + A - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 17.0 Farmer-Butterfield - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + A - - - - - + + A + - + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 16.7 Adams - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 16.0 Allen - - - - - + - - - + + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 16.0 Bell - - - - - + - - - + + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 16.0 England - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - NV + - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 16.0 Goodwin - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - 16.0 McAllister - - + NV - - - + NV NV + - NV - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - NV + + - + - - - + - - - - - - - NV - - - 16.0 Weiss - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + + - - - - - - + + - - - + - - + - + - - - - - - - - + 16.0 Wainwright - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - NV - - - + + + - - - - - NV - - - - A A A - A - A 15.6 Womble - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - NV - - - - - + + - - + NV NV - + - - - - - - - - A - - 14.3 Cotham5 - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 14.0 Gibson - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - + - - - - + - - + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 14.0 Insko - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - NV - - - - - - - NV + + NV - - - - + - + NV - - - - - - - + 14.0 Martin - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - 14.0 Cunningham6 - - - A - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - NV + + - - - - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 13.9 Bordsen - - - - - + - A - - + - - - - - - - + - A A + A A A A - - A A A A A A - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 13.5 Haire - - - - + + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + A - - A A - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12.8 Holliman - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - A A - A - - - - - - - - - - - 12.8 Luebke - - A A - - - - - - - - - A - - - - - - - - NV - - - - - - + - + - - - + - - + - + - - - - - - - - + 12.8 Carney - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - A A - + - - - - - - - - - - - 12.5 Dickson - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + A + - - - - - + - - - - - - A - - - - 12.5 Mobley7 - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + A + - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12.2 Hall - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + - - + - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 12.0 Jeffus - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12.0 Saunders - - - - - A - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + + - - - - - - - + + NV - - - - - - - A A - A A - A A A - 11.9 Ross - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + A + - - - - - + - - - - - A - - - - - 10.4 Fisher - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - + + A + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - 10.2 Michaux - - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - NV + - - + - - - NV - - - - - - - - - - NV 10.0 Alexander, M A A - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + A + - - - - - - A A A - - - - - - - - 9.1 Earle A A + - - A - - A - - - - - - - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - NV + + - - - - - - - - - - - NV - NV NV - - 8.7 Hughes8 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- - - - - + - - - - - - - - 7.7 Alexander, K.9 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- - - - - - - - - - NV - - - 0.0 Hackney NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV - NV NV - - NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV 0.0 Average Rating 43.1 1 (Resigned 7/12/07) 2 (Appointed 8/15/07) 3 (Expelled 3/20/08) 4 (Appointed 1/27/2007) 5 (Appoitned 3/22/07) 6 (Resigned 12/31/07) 7 (Appointed 1/23/2007) 8 (Appointed 4/8/08) 9 (Appointed 5/30/08)

62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 T-72 T-72 T-74 T-74 T-74 T-74 T-74 T79 T79 T79 T82 T82 T84 T84 T84 T84 T84 89 90 91 T92 T92 T92 T92 T92 T92 T92 99 100 T101 T101 T101 T101 105 106 T107 T107 T107 T110 T110 112 T113 T113 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 T122 T122


C O N S E R VAT I V E R A N K I N G

SB 3 (3R) SB 229 (MC) SB 488 (2R) SB 659 (MC) SB 954 (2R) SB 1211 (2R) SB 1271 (2R) SB 1271 (A3) SB 1363 (2R) SB 1485 (MC) SB 1492 (ACR2R) HB 91 (ACR) HB 91 (Table) HB 454 (2R) HB 483 (2R) HB 634 (3R) HB 649 (2R) HB 973 (2R) HB 1016 (3R) HB 1016 (A2) HB 1473 (ACR) HB 1517 (3R) HB 1737 (2R) HB 1761 (2R) HB 1828 (2R) HB 2044 (2R) HB 4 - ES (2R) SB 1263 (ACR) SB 1756 (2R) SB 1875 (ACR) SB 1951 (2R) SB 1968 (3R) SB 2075 (MC) SB 2081 (A1) SB 2107 (3R) HB 2353 (2R) HB 2436 (2R) HB 2436 (ACR) HB 2438 (2R) HB 2499 (2R)

SENATE

Index Rank Brock - + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - + + - + + + + 85.0 T-1 Goodall - + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - + + - + + + + 85.0 T-1 Pittenger1 - + - + + + + + + - + + + + A A - + + + + + + + + + + -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 84.0 3 Hunt - + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - + + - + + + - 82.5 4 Berger, P. - + + A + + + + + - + + + + + + - + + + + + + - - + + + + - + + - + + - + + + + 79.5 5 Smith - A - + + + + + + A A + + + + + - + + + + A A + A A + - + - + + - + + - + + A + 78.1 6 Apodaca - + + + + + + + + - + + + + + - - + + + + + + + - + + - + - + + - + + - + + + + 77.5 7 East - + - + + + + + + - + + + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + - + - + + - + + - + + A + 76.9 8 Brown - + - + + + + + + - + + + + - + - + + + + + + - + + + - + - + + - + + - + + + + 75.0 9 Tillman - + - + + + + + + - + + + + - + - - + + + + + - + + + - + A + + - + + - + + + + 74.4 10 Jacumin - + - + + + + + + - + + + + + A - + + + + + + - - + + + + - + + - + + - + + + - 74.4 11 Blake - + A + + + - + + - + + + + - + - - + + + + + - + + + - + - + + - + + - + + + - 69.2 T-12 Allran - + - + + + + + + - + + + + - A - - + + + + + - - + + + + - + + - + + - + + + - 69.2 T-12 Forrester - + - + + + + + + - + + + + - A - - + + + + + - - + A - + - + + - + + - + + + - 65.8 14 Preston - + - + + + + + + - + + + + - + - - + + + + + - + + + - + - + - - + + - + + - - 65.0 15 Brunstetter - + + + + + + + + - A - + + + - - - A + + + + - - + + - + - + + - + - - + + + - 63.2 16 Rucho2 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- A -- - + + - + + - + + A - 60.0 17 Stevens - + - + + + + + + - + - + + - - - + + + + + + - - + + - + - + + - + - - - - + - 57.5 18 Hartsell - + - + + + + + + - A - + + NV - - - + + + + + - - + + - + NV + - - A - - - - + - 50.0 19 Bingham - + - + A + - + + - - - + + - - - - + + + + + - - + + - + - + - - + - - - - + - 46.2 20 Clodfelter - + + + - + - - - - - - - + A - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - A - 23.7 21 Boseman - + - + - + - - - A A - - + - - - - - - - A + - - - - A + - + - - + - A - - A - 23.5 22 Weinstein - + - + - + - - - - - - A + - - - - - - - + + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 23.1 23 Berger, D. - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - + - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 22.5 T-24 Kerr - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - + + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 22.5 T-24 Nesbitt - + - + NV + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - + 22.5 T-24 Hoyle A + - + - + - - - - - - - A - - A A - - - + + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 22.2 27 Jenkins - + - + - + - - - A A - A + A A - - - - - A + - - - A A + A A - - - A - A - A - 22.2 28 Hagan - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - A A A + - A + - A - - A A 21.2 29 Cowell + + - + - + - - - - - - - + NV - - - - - - - + - - A - A + A NV - - - - A - - A A 20.6 30 Queen - + - + - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - - - A - - - - 20.5 T-31 Soles - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - A - 20.5 T-31 Swindell - + - + - + - - - - A - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 20.5 T-31 Graham A + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - A - - - - + - - A A A + A - A A - - - - - A A 20.0 34 Snow - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 20.0 T-35 Goss - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - + - - - - - - 20.0 T-35 Dalton - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + A - - - A + - + - - - - - - - A - 18.9 37 Shaw - + - A - + - - + - - - - + - - - + - - - - + - - - - A A A NV - A - - A - - A A 18.8 38 Purcell - + - + - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - A - + - - - - - - - - - 17.9 39 Albertson - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - - - - + - - - - - - 17.5 T-40 Foriest - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - 17.5 T-40 Malone - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - 17.5 T-40 McKissick - + - + - + - - + - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 17.5 T-40 Dorsett - + - + - + - - - - - A - + A - - - - A - - + - - - A - + - - - - - - - - - A - 17.1 44 Garrou - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - A - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - A - 15.8 45 Kinnaird + + - + - A - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 15.4 T-46 Jones3 - + - + - + - - - - + - - + - - - - - - - - A - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 15.4 T-46 Dannelly - + - + - + - - - - - - - A - A - - - - - - + - - - - A + A - - A - - - - - A A 15.2 48 Atwater - + - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - - - - - - - - - - - 15.0 T-49 Rand - NV - + - + - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - - - + - + - - - - - - - - - 15.0 T-49 Basnight - + - + - A - - - - - - - + - - - - - - - - + - - - NV - + - - - - - - - - - - - 12.8 51 Average Rating 39.4 1 (Resigned 5/27/08) 2 (Appointed 6/9/08) 3 (Appointed 1/24/07)

20 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

PAID FOR BY CIVITAS ACTION


SENATE INDEX

HOUSE INDEX

2007 Session

2007 Session

S 3 – Promote Renewable Energy/Baseload Generation (3R) 7/3/2007 S 229 – Legal Status of Prisoners (MC) 8/1/2007 S 488 – Carrboro Campaign Regulation (2R) 5/10/2007 S 659 – Officials Forfeit Pensions for Felonies (MC) 6/26/2007 S 954 – Popular Election (2R) 5/14/2007 S 1211 – Require Fingerprinting for DWI/DWLR (2R) 5/1/2007 S 1271 – Firefighter/EMS Payroll Deductions (2R) 5/23/2007 S 1271 – Firefighter/EMS Payroll Deductions (A3) 5/23/2007 S 1363 – Nonpartisan Election of DAs (2R) 5/23/2007 S 1485 – Amend NC Appraisers Act/Fees (MC) 8/1/2007 S 1492 – Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 (2R) 7/26/2007 H 91 – Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites (2R) 6/20/2007 H 91 – Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites (Motion to Table) 6/20/2007 H 454 – Identity Theft (2R) 7/25/2007 H 483 – Chapel Hill Campaign Finance Options (2R) 7/12/2007 H 634 – Advance Directives/Health Care POA (3R) 7/28/2007 H 649 – Increase Fees/Landscape Contractors (2R) 7/19/2007 H 973 – Mental Health Equitable Coverage (2R) 7/3/2007 H 1016 – State Medicaid Swap (3R) 7/17/2008 H 1016 – State Medicaid Swap (A2) 7/11/2008 H 1473 – 2007 Appropriations Act (ACR) 7/30/2007 H 1517 – Voter-Owned Elections Pilot (2R) 8/1/2007 H 1737 – Legal Expense Funds (2R) 7/31/2007 H 1761 – Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund (2R) 8/1/2007 H 1828 – Strengthen Judicial Fund (2R) 8/1/2007 H 2044 – 2007 Continuing Budget Authority (2R) 6/28/2007

H 91 – Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites (2R) 3/28/2007 H 91 – Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites (A1) 3/28/2007 H 259 – Prohibit Smoking in Public and Work Places (2R) 5/2/2007 H 265 – Establish Health Insurance Risk Pool (A2) 4/30/2007 H 341 – Proportionality Review (2R) 5/23/2007 H 454 – Identity Theft (3R) 5/8/2007 H 483 – Chapel Hill Campaign Finance Options (2R) 5/23/2007 H 634 – Advance Directives/Health Care POA (MC) 7/30/2007 H 649 – Increase Fees/Landscape Contractors (2R) 3/27/2007 H 853 – Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Schools (2R) 5/23/2007 H 878 – Eminent Domain (3R) 5/24/2007 H 973 – Mental Health Equitable Coverage (2R) 5/23/2007 H 973 – Mental Health Equitable Coverage (A1) 5/23/2007 H 1287 – Report Denial of Some Pistol Permits (3R) 5/2/2007 H 1291 – NC Racial Justice Act (3R) 5/24/2007 H 1366 – School Violence Prevention Act (3R) 5/24/2007 H 1366 – School Violence Prevention Act (A1) 5/23/2007 H 1473 – 2007 Appropriations Act (A7) 5/10/2007 H 1473 – 2007 Appropriations Act (A24) 5/10/2007 H 1473 – 2007 Appropriations Act (2R) 5/10/2007 H 1473 – 2007 Appropriations Act (ACR2R) 7/28/2007 H 1517 – Voter-Owned Elections Pilot (3R) 7/28/2007 H 1737 – Legal Expense Funds (2R) 5/23/2007 H 1761 – Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund (CDF) (ACR) 8/2/2007 H 1828 – Strengthen Judicial Fund (2R) 7/31/2007 H 1837 – Stem Cell Research Health & Wellness Act (3R) 7/28/2007 H 1837 – Stem Cell Research Health & Wellness Act (A2) 7/27/2008 H 1847 – Report Lost or Stolen Gun (2R) 5/22/2007 H 2044 – Continuing Budget Authority (3R) 6/27/2007 S 3 – Promote Renewable Energy/Baseload Generation (3R) 7/31/2007 S 229 – Legal Status of Prisoners (2R) 8/1/2007 S 659 – Officials Forfeit Pensions for Felonies (2R) 6/21/2007 S 1211 – Require Fingerprinting for DWI/DWLR (3R) 7/28/2007 S 1485 – Amend NC Appraisers Act/Fees (3R) 8/1/2007 S 1492 – Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 (ACR2R) 8/1/2007

2007 Extra Session H 4 (Extra Session) – Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund (2R) 9/11/2007

2008 Session S 1263 – Election Law Amendments (ACR) 7/18/2008 S 1756 – Estate and Gift Tax Law Changes 6/3/2008 S 1875 – Clarify Auditor Hotline Authority/State Ethics Commission (ACR) 7/17/2008 S 1951 – Repeal Land Transfer Tax Authority (2R) 6/18/2008 S 1968 – Expand Film Industry Credits (3R) 6/26/2008 S 2075 – Economic Development Modifications (MC) 7/17/2008 S 2081 – NICS Reporting/Restoration (A1) 7/10/2008 S 2107 – Set Fees for 2008 Budget (3R) 6/18/2008 H 2353 – Irrigation Contractor Licensure/Fees (3R) 7/15/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 (2R) 6/18/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 (ACR) 7/7/2008 H 2438 – 2008 Budget Technical Corrections (2R) 7/18/2008 H 2499 – Drought/Water Management Recommendations (2R) 7/17/2008 This page contains the list of the bills voted on in the N. C. Senate and the N.C. House which were used to score votes for the Civitas’ Conservative Effectiveness Rankings. For more detailed information on these bills, votes and the rankings visit: www.civitasaction.org. Sponsored and paid for by Civitas Action

WWW.ncCIvitas.org

2007 Extra Session H 4 (Extra Session) – Job Maintenance and CDF (2R) 9/11/2007 H 4 (Extra Session) – Job Maintenance and CDF (A2) 9/11/2007

2008 Session H 2353 – Irrigation Contractor Licensure/Fees (3R) 6/24/2008 H 2367 – Involuntary Annexation Moratorium (3R) 7/2/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 (2R) 6/4/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 (A14) 6/5/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 (A16) 6/5/2008 H 2436 – Modify Appropriations Act of 2007 – (ACR) 7/7/2008 H 2440 – State Health Plan Shortfall Funds (A1) 7/17/2008 H 2499 – Drought/Water Mgt. Recommendations (MC) 7/18/2008 H 2499 – Drought/Water Mgt. Recommendations (A9) 7/15/2008 S 488 – Carrboro Campaign Regulation (ACR) 7/14/2008 S 1263 – Election Law Amendments (2R) 7/10/2008 S 1875 – Clarify Auditor Hotline Authority/State Ethics Commission (3R) 7/14/2008 S 2075 – Economic Development Modifications (3R) 7/16/2008

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

21


{ I N

D EP T H}

BRIAN BALFOUR

Predatory

BORROWING Is your credit card missing? You may want to check, because state lawmakers in Raleigh are running up quite a tab at your expense. The worst part? You’ll never be asked to approve the charges, and you’ll have to pay them back, plus interest. A lot of interest.

22 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008


O

nce again, state leaders have added to our state’s rapidly increasing debt without approval from those who will be forced to pay it back – the taxpayers. The recently approved FY2008-09 State Budget authorizes more than $850 million in new debt largely for University of North Carolina (UNC) construction projects and new prison space. None of this debt will be subject to voter approval, continuing our state government’s unaccountable spending spree.

Who Are The Real “Predators”?

Over the last several years, our elected officials have maxed out the taxpayers’ credit card, and don’t seem intent on slowing down anytime soon. In fact, North Carolina’s state debt has doubled since 2000, and the state’s debt per family of four has jumped from $1,300 to $3,000. But unlike dealing with a credit card company, North Carolina citizens can’t contest these charges.

Source: North Carolina Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2007 © ANGELA DOMINGUEZ , ANDILLUSTRATIONS.COM

Debt Financing Methods

Here’s how it works: When state government wants to pay for “capital projects” (new buildings on college campuses, new prisons, etc.), it can choose either the pay-as-yougo method or it can sell bonds to raise the necessary funds. In other words, the state can pay cash or take out a loan to cover the cost. If bonds are sold to fund capital projects, state government debt is increased and taxpayers are responsible for repaying the money owed to the bondholders (plus interest). Over the last eight years, state egislators have grown leaders in North Carolina have rather fond of financing largely shifted capital projects by away from the fiscally responsible selling bonds and letting method of pay-asfuture generations you-go financing. Legislators have figure out how to pay grown rather fond back the debt of financing capital projects by selling bonds, and letting future generations figure out how to pay back the debt. Two types of bonds are typically issued by state government. “General Obligation” bonds must be approved by voters, while “special indebtedness” bonds (such as Certificates of Participation – COPs) allow lawmakers to escape any such accountability.

“L

,

.”

STATE DEBT PER CAPITA 2000-2007

While condemning “predatory” practices on the part of mortgage lenders whose borrowers actually agreed to the loan, our elected officials have gone on a multi-billion dollar borrowing binge – without so much as the courtesy of asking permission of those who must repay it. As Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger (R– Rockingham) said in the August 2008 Carolina Journal, “We’ve heard a lot of talk about how consumers have gotten in trouble through practices that are employed by www.nccivitas.org

predatory lenders. I like to refer to the borrowing that’s taking place in this budget as predatory borrowing.”

Lawmakers Ignoring the Voice of the People

Recent surveys indicate that North Carolina voters strongly favor voting on state debt at the ballot box. The Civitas Institute’s May 2008 DecisionMaker poll reveals that 77 percent of voters think the General Assembly should not be allowed to borrow money without voter approval. Despite such overwhelming public opposition, not one penny of state-authorized debt was submitted to the voters for their approval since 2000. During that time, more than $3.2 billion in new state debt – plus interest – has been authorized. By contrast, in the prior fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

23


“Sadly, the last time North Carolina citizens was November 2000 despite being asked to take 15 years, only $140 million in non-voter approved debt had been authorized. Sadly, the last time North Carolina citizens actually voted on a statewide bond was November 2000 despite being asked to take on more than $3 billion in new debt since then.

How Can They Get Away With This?

Article V, Section 3 (1) of the North Carolina State Constitution states “The General Assembly shall have no power to contract debts secured by a pledge of the faith and credit of the State, unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the State who vote thereon.” Seems simple enough, right? No debt without voter approval. Digging deeper into North Carolina law, however, reveals legislation crafted to skirt voter approval of certain types of debt financing. North Carolina General Statutes, Article 9, Chapter 142-85 (3) contains this passage: “The taxing power of the State is not percent of voters and may not be pledged directly or indirectly think the eneral to secure any moneys ssembly should due under special indebtedness or any not be allowed to related documents.” In short, there is borrow money without no legal guarantee of voter approval the full faith and credit of the State behind the various creative debt financing mechanisms known as “special indebtedness.” Because of this legal framework, special indebtedness – most notably COPs – are technically not considered debt at all, and therefore do not require voter approval. Making matters worse, the State Treasurer’s 2008 Debt Affordability Study states, “Special indebtedness (COPs) …typically carries a

“77

A

G

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24 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

higher interest rate [than General Obligation bonds], which increases the cost of projects so financed.” Thus, COPs unnecessarily add millions more to the state’s debt burden.

Beware of Committees

Virtually all of the “special indebtedness” authorized over the last several years has taken the form of Certificates of Participation, or COPs. The use of COPs to finance state debt can be traced to a provision in the FY 2002-03 Budget (S.L. 2002-126) that established the “Joint Legislative Commission on Capital Improvements.” Coming on the heels of a $3.1 billion bond package approved by voters in the fall of 2000 and mired in an economic recession, one might speculate that legislators believed it would be difficult to gain voter approval for yet more debt – so a committee was formed to discuss alternative methods of financing. The very next year, a new article was added to North Carolina’s General Statutes via the FY 2003-04 budget bill (S.L. 2003-284). Called the “State Capital Facilities Finance Act,” this statute – among other things – detailed the funding mechanism for COPs and codified the legal justification for the state’s use of this form of debt that would not require voter approval. Not coincidentally, also included in that year’s budget was authorization of $652 million in new debt, all to be financed via COPs without voter approval.

How Much Debt Can North Carolina Taxpayers “Afford”?

To further justify their spending spree, lawmakers inform us that the added debt fits into the affordability guidelines established by the State Treasurer’s annual “Debt Affordability Study.” However, the 2008 study warns against such a heavy reliance on special indebtedness bonds, largely because such irresponsible behavior will put the state’s bond rating at risk. “He [State Treasurer Richard Moore] also urges a return to debt that is voted on by the citizens of North Carolina, which will cost less over the long haul,” said Moore spokeswoman Sara Lang.


actually voted on a statewide bond

on more than $3 billion in new debt since then. ”

Authorizing billions of dollars of debt without first acquiring voter approval highlights our state leaders’ lack of concern for future generations. Even more problematic is that some of this unapproved debt will finance questionable and politically motivated projects such as the CSS Neuse state historic site, an oyster hatchery, a horse park, and a polar bear exhibit. By issuing billions of dollars in new state debt without consent of the citizens, North Carolina’s elected officials displayed an appalling lack of accountability and a complete disregard for the financial burden they are strapping to the backs of our children. It’s time to stop the predatory spending and borrowing behavior in Raleigh and subject all state debt to voter approval. Looks like the politicians in Raleigh not only ignored the voice of the people, but the state treasurer as well.

Predatory Borrowing Straps Growing Debt to Our Children’s Backs

Debt service in the recently passed budget has ballooned to more than two and a half times FY 2001-02 levels. Accumulating such rapidly growing debt inevitably leads to tax hikes or crowding out of other government expenditures because debt service payments must be met every year. The share of General Fund appropriations consumed by debt service has grown by 76 percent in the last seven years, and has helped to crowd out K-12 education and justice and public safety (JPS) spending:

MAJOR EXPENDITURES AS A SHARE OF GENERAL FUND

FY2001-02

FY2008-09

Debt Service

1.7%

3.0%

JPS

10.6%

9.8%

Medicaid

13.6%

14.9%

K-12

40.5%

36.0%

UNC

12.3%

12.6%

NER

2.4%

2.7%

www.nccivitas.org

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

25


{ I N

D EP T H}

BY MAX BORDERS

Politics or Prin Esse Quam Videri – “To be, rather than to seem.” – N.C. State Motto

J

ust think about this election: Each side has its own cabal of spin doctors pumping out messages too vague to be informative, too simple for any complicated state of affairs. These messages are designed either to dodge the issue or devalue one’s opponent, but they rarely enlighten us. American attention spans, after all, are a scarce resource. Campaigning is reduced to grabbing precious moments from Americans as they slide between dinner and primetime. We’re partly to blame, of course. Most voters should make an effort to be better informed. But then again, we’ve got other stuff on our minds—work, kids, or an un-mowed lawn. Politicians are simply responding to our apathy with suitable information products: platitudes, posturing and emotional appeals. In all this mass marketing, where have the principles gone?

The Presumption of Freedom You may be wondering: “Whose principles?” It’s a fair question. The vision of the American Founders used to be enough. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think they had it right. The trouble is we’re losing that vision. We’re losing that grand presumption of freedom that

26 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

used to be second nature to us as a people. It’s the idea that a free people are better at solving problems than a cadre of elites. The Founders knew government doesn’t need to plan our religious lives, and yet we’ve seen no shortages of churches, faith, or religious pluralism in America. Likewise, we don’t need government to plan our financial lives or our economy. Freedom was a kind of panacea for Jefferson, Madison and Adams. They saw that very little good came out of too much power in too few hands. They knew they had to try to craft a Constitution that would be immune to factions, favor-seeking, and power grabbing. They introduced checks and balances because politicians are no more angels than bureaucrats are efficient. I worry it wasn’t enough… But there was something prior even to the Founders’ statecraft: liberty. Government, thought the Founders, is a necessary evil designed to protect liberty. It is not meant to be our parent, to guarantee financial security, or to eliminate risks from our lives. And for good reason: When these values become the ends of government, freedom withers and dies. Today, government has become the answer to everything that ails us. Few are willing to look into the mirror to bring about social change, much less personal

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Elections are becoming increasingly like team sports. It’s more about the color of the jersey than the substance of the players. Pressing issues are reduced to appearances. Reality has become a relic. Even discussion of “what works,” i.e. good ole American pragmatism, is slowly being replaced by perception-based politics. To win in America is to seem rather than to be.


ciples? change. Instead we invest our hopes, and often our resources, into politicians making expensive promises, or into bureaucracies that fail by their very natures. When we think about our fellow citizens in hard times, we often opt for the lowest-cost way of helping: voting. To point out this fact is not to denigrate democracy, but to say that democracy without individual initiative or community action is a kind of cop-out. Democracy gets overrated and overused, eroding our entrepreneurial spirit. (When I say entrepreneurial, I don’t just mean business, but a community spirit that forms when people get together and solve problems without bureaucrats.) The state too often crowds out the constellation of ventures, works and charities that might otherwise emerge in free society. Because the costs are those good things never born into the world, we never see them. So we tend to go back and ask the government for yet more. But we should never leave the polls divested of our sense of civic responsibility. Or worse, we should never feel that the extent of one’s social consciousness can involve pulling a lever to increase the size and scope of government. It’s the equivalent of saying “take some of my taxes so I don’t have to think about our country’s problems anymore.” Or worse still: “If I am willing pay higher taxes for the common good, everyone else should be, too.” If we’re being honest with ourselves, and true to any sense of what it means to be moral, we must start with our own individual action. We should be guided by good intention, but these should be carried out with a view to a good outcome.

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Freedom and a Good Mind So what does it mean to do good? Does it have anything to do with government? Mens Rea, or “guilty mind,” is the term in criminal law for talking about the intention behind a criminal act. In other words, the act alone does not make a person guilty; he must also have bad intentions. If Dick Cheney had accidentally killed his friend in a hunting accident, we certainly wouldn’t have said he’s a murderer. We’d have to show Cheney had some malicious motive. Can’t something similar be said about a good act? That is, an act of kindness, benevolence, or charity? Is someone doing a moral good if there is no intention to do good behind the act—i.e. a “good mind”? Most reasonable people would say no. If a five-dollar bill falls out of my pocket and floats into the hands of a beggar as I dig for my subway card, I haven’t done anything moral. www.nccivitas.org

If someone points a gun at me, takes the five, and gives it to the beggar, I still haven’t satisfied any moral obligation I may have to the beggar. And yet the latter is the sum of government welfare programs. Coerce taxes from the population and call it moral. It’s not merely that the government strips us of resources we earn honestly. It strips us of the very moral impetus from which “being good” arises. By expanding entitlements, for example, the government is not somehow helping people fulfill their moral duties. One’s internal sense of goodness is the sense upon which the very notion of moral responsibility rests. That is why freedom and responsibility work in tandem. When we vote away that responsibility, we vote away our principles—and with them the presumption of freedom.

Election Time Sometimes it’s hard to participate in democracy when it seems like so many of the politicians out there have forgotten our founding principles. People demand the most for the least amount of effort, which is human nature. Politicians promise folks an easy road, without acknowledging that such a road leads, eventually, to what F.A. Hayek called “serfdom.” But voting is pretty much the only game in town. It’s true: the likelihood that my vote or yours will make the difference in an election is tiny. That shouldn’t keep us at home on Election Day. It should show us that voting simply isn’t enough (best believe the enemies of freedom have figured this out). People who love freedom need to pen more letters. We need to talk to more people. We need to write, to blog, to speak out in our communities. We need to tell the politicians that our principles aren’t negotiable. We need to give to organizations that fight for freedom while we’re at work or at play. We need to take like-minded friends and family to the voting booth with us. We need to point sternly to our founding principles every day and stare down those who would trample upon them. For without freedom, we will lose not only our prosperity, but that singular American quality that defines us as a people. fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

27


I N T E R N ’S N OT E

Youth Vote to

Sway Election? In past presidential election years, North Carolina’s relatively late primary has meant that presidential nominations are already decided before North Carolinians go to the polls. This year, with the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination still unresolved as of May, North Carolina had the rare chance to have its opinion heard in the nomination process. Although the Republican nomination had been locked in since early March, expectations were high for Democrats, and many expected Senator Barack Obama to win the state. One of the key voting groups in the North Carolina primary – 18 to 25 year olds – also claims this author as a member. The 615,000 voters ages 18 to 25 represent 11 percent of North Carolina’s registered voters. It is a relatively small voting block, but it is one that is very open to media and pop culture. Young voters are typically regarded as unreliable, but many college students have been drawn into the election by Senator Obama’s campaign. The August 2008 Civitas poll found that, while Obama had at most 43 percent support in other age groups, he was favored by 64 percent of 18 to 25-year-old likely voters. McCain received 26 percent; 11 percent were undecided. In order to increase his chances in the fall, the Obama campaign is vigorously trying to register new, young voters. College campuses, along with high schools, will be a focus for unregistered voters or those who want to register in North Carolina rather than their home state. The number of advertisements and voter registration drives on the Duke University campus alone indicate that the push for young voters is quite strong.

28 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

They May Register, But Will They Vote? As a key demographic for Senator Obama, it is important to have an idea of how dependable young voters will be in November. The 18 to 25 age group comprises about 11 percent of the registered voters in North Carolina. However, historically it has made up less than 11 percent of voters in any election. In the 2004 general election, overall voter turnout in North Carolina was 64 percent, but only 52 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds turned out to vote. As a result, young voters accounted for only 9 percent of the total turnout in North Carolina. More recently, despite efforts to woo young voters, 18 to 25-year-olds comprised only 6 percent of the turnout in the 2008 primary. Looking only at Democratic and unaffiliated voters (the majority of the latter voted in the more highly contested Democratic primary), young voters performed little better. Only 6 percent of Democratic voters were 18 to 25, even though they comprise 9 percent of Democratic registrations. Young unaffiliated voters turned out at 10 percent, but make up 16 percent of unaffiliated registration.

What About New Registrants? New registrants – particularly young voters – are significantly more likely to vote. In the 2008 primary, 40 percent of young new registrants turned out to vote, compared to

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BY MATT CARLISLE


Ages 18-25: Turnout by Registration Date PARTY

NEW (INCL. ONE-STOP)

PRIOR TO 2008

Democrat

53%

Republican

22%

26% 9%

Unaffiliated

31%

13%

Total

40%

17%

Makeup of 18-25 year-old Voters Who Turned Out % Who Were Newly Registered PARTY

2004

2008

Democrat

53%

26%

Republican

22%

9%

Unaffiliated

31%

13%

17 percent of young registrants who had registered prior to 2008. While there was considerable variation in turnout by party, all parties had more success in getting new registrants to the polls. The impact of new registrants was greater in the 2008 primary than in the 2004 general election. In 2004, newly registered voters – those who registered in the 4 months prior to the election – made up 23 percent of the 18 to 25-year-old turnout. In 2008, there were a larger number of newly registered voters at the polls to account for 34 percent of young voter turnout. The increase came primarily from young voters registering as Democrats or unaffiliated. Of the newly registered young voters who voted in the 2008 primary, 66 percent were Democrats. Only 10 percent were Republican, and 24 percent were registered as unaffiliated. This is in part the result of the less competi-

tive Republican primary, but it is also a reflection of the fact that young voters are somewhat more likely to register without a party affiliation. Still, newly registered young voters were less likely to turnout to vote than their older counterparts, particularly on the Democratic side. Overall, 62 percent of new Democratic registrants turned out in the May 2008 primary (including 4% from one-stop early voting registration). Among those ages 18 to 25, only 53 percent turned out. With interest building for the November election, the turnout will be much higher, but whether or not Senator Obama will be able to get enough young voters and other groups to the polls to swing North Carolina remains to be seen. Can young voters play an important role in this election? That depends on how many turn out to vote and which candidate is able to bring them out in the highest numbers. Matt Carlisle is student a t Duke University and a Civitas Summer Intern. 2004 General Election Turnout by Age, Party, & Registration Date

Source: State Board of Elections data

prior = registered prior to jan. 1, 2008

Ages 18-25: Turnout by Registration Date

Turnout & Registration of 18-25 Age Group by Party Registrants 2008 Primary Voters Party Democrat

All

39%

2008

All

50%

New

61%

66%

Republican

28%

19%

15%

10%

Unaffiliated

32%

31%

24%

24%

2008 Turnout of Newly Registered

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PARTY

All Ages

Age 18-25

Democrat

62%

53%

Republican

25%

22%

Unaffiliated

37%

31%

prior = registered prior to jul. 1, 2004

Source: State Board of Elections data

www.nccivitas.org

fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

29


THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE

2008 Elections:

Life/Family Issues Continue To Be

Important

A

• In 10 polls over the past three years, a majority (57%52%) of N.C. voters identified themselves as pro-life. 44% of voters are strongly pro-life; 13% are somewhat pro-life (July 2006). When the emphasis of the question was refocused BY DR. JAMESON away from identifiers such as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” 10 TAYLOR percent more respondents agreed abortion should never or “Pro-life” vs. “Abortion Rights” only rarely be legal. • 63% of voters think abortion should never be legal While a majority of North Carolina voters identify themselves as pro-life, even more are opposed to abortion. (16%) or only in cases of rape/incest/to preserve the life of the mother (47%) (July 2008). This polling data suggests pro-life candi dates who emphasize opposition to legalized “Pro-Life” Voters vs. “Make Abortion Illegal” Voters abortion – as opposed to affiliation with the Voting Tendency Make Abortion Pro-Life Size of Voting Bloc pro-life movement – may broaden their appeal Illegal with swing voters. The chart to the left indiAlways Vote Rep. 83% 83% 8% cates how this strategy resonates with ticketsplitting voters without altering support among Vote Rep. More “pro-life” voters. than Dem. 74% 76% 29% Our December 2005 poll (using alterEqually Vote 64% 56% 18% nate parameters from our usual poll) asked a Rep./ Dem. slightly different question framed in terms of Always Vote Dem. 60% 47% 16% abortion rights. The results were similar among respondents who vote Republican more than Vote Dem. More than Rep. 49% 40% 27% Democrat, but not among voters who always vote Republican. 30 • CIVITAS REVIEW • fall 2008

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s the nomination of pro-life mother and governor Sarah Palin for vice president indicates, social conservatives will play an important role in the upcoming 2008 elections. Likewise, Civitas’ polling of North Carolina voters suggests that support for moral/family values is very important for state legislative races (July 2006; December 2005) and ranks second only to jobs/ economy as regards the upcoming presidential election (July 2008). A majority of voters also oppose abortion while even more support a Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA). • 10 polls over the past three years show a majority of voters are pro-life. • 5 polls over the past three years show that more than 70% of voters favor a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.


“Pro-Life” Voters vs. “Abortion Not a Right” Voters Voting Tendency Voters: Always Vote Rep.

Abortion Not a Right

Pro-Life

% of Republican

76%

83%

31%

Vote Rep. More than Dem.

75%

76%

48%

Equally Vote Rep./ Dem.

74%

56%

18%

Overall, though, the polling suggests that for many voters the negative connotations associated with using the word “abortion” outweigh the positive connotations associated with using the term “pro-life.” In other words, pro-life candidates generally benefit from framing the abortion debate in terms of making abortion never or only rarely legal.

Defense of Marriage Constitutional Amendment Majorities of almost every type of voter – regardless of philosophy, party, education or race – support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The only exceptions are “very liberal voters” (47% support) and voters with postgraduate degrees (47% support). State law (G.S. § 51-1.2) already prohibits marriages between persons of the same gender. North Carolina, however, is the only Southern state (excepting Florida, which votes on this issue in November) that does not have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as an exclusive union between one man and one woman. With California and Massachusetts now marrying out-of-state gay couples, an N.C. Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) may be necessary to forestall likely legal challenges to the current legislative ban. • Between 77 percent (July 2006) and 71 percent (May 2008) of voters explicitly support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The same number are also much more (66%) or somewhat more (11%) likely to vote for a state-level candidate who supports a marriage amendment (June 2005, September 2005, July 2006). • 92% of “very conservative” voters and 91% who always vote Republican support a marriage amendment (May 2008). • 86% of African American voters support a marriage amendment (May 2008). www.nccivitas.org

• 78% of respondents who equally vote Democrat/Republican support a marriage amendment (May 2008). • 74% of respondents who always vote Democrat support a marriage amendment (May 2008). • Voters aged 18-25 are least likely (59%) to support a marriage amendment while voters 66 and over are most likely (81%).

Support for a marriage amendment may be broader than it is deep. When asked to rate five legislative proposals, 19% of voters ranked the marriage amendment as a top priority — behind Jessica’s Law (28%) and reducing personal income taxes (20%).” (September 2006) While almost all voters who identify themselves as “strongly pro-life” support a marriage amendment, a strong majority (71 percent in both cases) of “somewhat pro-life” and “somewhat pro-choice” voters also support the amendment (July 2006). Even 53 percent of “strongly pro-choice” voters support defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Finally, it is often thought that moral/family issues are more important in the presidential election than they are in statewide elections. Our polling suggests the opposite (see www.nccivitas.org for more detail). At the very least, our findings indicate that even if voters tend to view abortion as more of a federal issue they still identify the protection of traditional marriage as a state issue. In any case, it is clear that North Carolina voters are more likely to favor a statelevel candidate who supports the marriage amendment. fall 2008 • CIVITAS REVIEW •

31


nccivitas.org 100 South Harrington Street Raleigh, N.C. 27603-1814

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Civitas Review Fall 2008  

Civitas Review Fall 2008

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