David Tuerck, Ryan Murphy and Paul Bachman from the John Locke Foundation, have recently written the following pre-view analysis on the latest report from RTI International and La Capra Associates on Clean Energy Development in North Carolina. Their pre-review questions several assumptions and cost-benefit analysis done by the report, suggesting that the benefits have been overstated and the social impact on government spending non-existent.
You can get access to the PDF form of the report here
A recent report from RTI International and La Capra Associates claims to find net economic benefits for North Carolina’s renewable energy policies, but these benefits are mismeasured and spurious. Orthodox cost-benefit analysis will not find anything like what the report’s authors estimate. Many claims are difficult to directly evaluate given the opacity of the report, despite the report’s length. Elsewhere, confusing terminology conceals the lack of any evidence that subsidizing green energy will reduce the cost of power in North Carolina.
Hidden in the text, tables, and charts is that there is little to be said for the renewable energy subsidies themselves. The cost savings will be the result of “energy efficiency,” not renewable energy. Everything else is trivial. But by giving the impression that “not using energy” counts towards “renewable energy,” they claim renewable energy is cheaper.
Jim Morrill at the Charlotte Observer writes about a piece of legislation in North Carolina that would use public money to fund a professional sports team.
The bi-partisan bill would allow the city of Charlotte to use local taxes earmarked for the convention center to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium…
“There are a lot of people in the state who have a problem with what is happening in professional sports, the NFL in particular,” said Rep. Bert Jones, a Reidsville Republican. “The NFL is big money, let’s face it.”
Rep. Paul Luebke, a liberal Democrat from Durham, called the bill “corporate welfare.”
“This is welfare for a major, profitable corporation,” he said.
Josh Katzowitz writes an article at CBS Sports about a recent deal to keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina. A substantial portion of the cost is going to be borne by the taxpayers in the city:
With Los Angeles still looking for a team to move to town — the Chargers seem to be the best bet, but they’re still locked down in San Diego for the 2013 season — you can cross yet another potential franchise off the list.
That would be the Panthers — who have won concessions from the Charlotte City Council, which will invest $143.75 million during the next 15 years for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium, according to the AP.
Roy Cordato, the VP of research for the John Locke Foundation, discusses the fallacy of using taxpayers’ money to “invest” in private companies:
The press release below was sent out by the Governor’s office yesterday. It boasts that the Commerce Department is about to organize a $220,000 coercive wealth transfer [my language not the press release's] from the taxpayers of North Carolina to a private company called bioMerieux as a payoff [again my language] for expanding its operations in Durham. The point is to create 44 new employment opportunities.
The John Locke Foundation, a think-tank in North Carolina, recently released a report highlighting how occupational licensing in their state – often the result of cronyism – is leading to higher prices and less competition:
“In practice, occupational licensing tends to be motivated more to protect current members of a profession from competition and thereby make them wealthier,” Sanders added. “One study suggests licensing boosts earnings for current practitioners by 15 percent. In higher-wage licensed occupations, the wage premium can reach as high as 30 percent. Instead of being a case of the state versus the professionals, licensing actually helps the two sides work in concert against the interests of new competitors and consumers.”
The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Dunn writes about Wells Fargo expanding lobbying strategy as the company seeks to place legislative lobbyists in state capitals where none had been before.
“Wells Fargo has built up a significant lobbying presence in state capitals to manage the torrent of mortgage-related bills flooding legislatures.
Five years ago, the San Francisco bank reported a limited state lobbying presence focused on the West Coast and Iowa.”
Fergus Hodgson at the Locker Room blog writes about a case in North Carolina where a specific company received millions of dollars in incentives to move their headquarters to the state. The author also uses the opportunity to teach about the broken window fallacy.
Mitch Kokai writes at the John Locke Foundation’s blog about their attempts to highlight the problem of cronyism in North Carolina:
When governments enact policies designed to benefit particular individuals or businesses — rather than set clear rules that apply equally to everyone — there’s a good chance that cronyism is playing a role.
Jon Sanders outlined his research into Carolina Cronyism during a presentation today to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society. In the video clip below, Sanders discusses the motivation for his research.
The Caroline Journal Online write about a new report highlighting North Carolina’s tax incentives for the film industry, which they say are a clear cut example of cronyism:
Less than a month after North Carolina legislators approved more money for the state’s film tax incentives program, a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight Report pans film incentives as a clear example of cronyism.
“The problem with these incentives is that the lower tax burden on film productions comes with the consequence of keeping tax burdens high on nonfavored businesses and industries,’” said report author Jon Sanders, JLF Director of Regulatory Studies. “When government chooses one industry or business for special deals and breaks, there’s a good chance that cronyism is at work.”
Cassis Foss of the Wilmington Star News looks at the Wilmington Regional Film Commission’s expansion attempts to boost the region’s economy.
“The Wilmington Regional Film Commission will dip into its reserve funds to pay employee salaries and tack on additional staff hours to help deal with an increasing amount of film-related requests.
“The commission’s five-member board of directors voted Tuesday to adopt a 2012-13 budget proposal that includes using a portion of the commission’s reserve funds, about $25,000, and a small increase in funding from New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington, about $6,000 total, to increase its spending on salaries and marketing activities, among other expenses.”