Transparency (page 28)

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    For safety’s sake, take down red-light cameras

    A new police report from Kansas City has found red-light cameras to coincide with more accidents, not fewer. From the Kansas City Star: [T]he analysis of more than 2,500 wrecks in the two years after the cameras appeared shows that injury wrecks, rear-end wrecks and overall…
    Fergus Hodgson, January 25, 2012
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    New Carolina Journal Online features

    Dan Way reports for Carolina Journal Online about a lawsuit involving the tape recording of a closed session in which Bertie County commissioners gave their county manager a 42 percent raise. John Hood’s Daily Journal critiques Gov. Beverly Perdue’s re-election strategy.
    Mitch Kokai, January 18, 2012
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    When the rich are cronies of government: Louisiana Sugar Bowl

    Why is there a Tea Party? Why do people clamor for fewer government perks, often to no avail? Chad Rogers, publisher of a news website in Louisiana (TheDeadPelican.com) cut right to the chase in a radio interview this week, and I wanted to share the clip—one which I…
    Fergus Hodgson, January 10, 2012
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    NC Legislature: just say no to high cost energy

    Ken Green at AEI reports here that Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform is making repeal of Renewable Energy Standards (RES) a priority.  These state laws require energy companies to buy and then sell high priced wind and solar energy to their customers who would rather have low…
    Michael Sanera, December 21, 2011
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    New Carolina Journal Online features

    Dan Way reports for Carolina Journal Online about the similarities between a current scandal involving the N.C. High School Athletic Association and a nearly decade-old scandal involving the head of the Exploris children’s museum. John Hood’s Daily Journal offers a diagnosis of CUDS, Citizens United Derangement…
    Mitch Kokai, December 20, 2011
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    The open bar at a wedding: union activity on the taxpayer dime, “official time”

    The Capital Research Center has released an overview, as of November, of what is now a regular part of federal activity: taxpayer-funded union activities. Yes, federal employees carry out this "official time," which can be unrelated to their jobs, and still collect their government salary. According to the report, some employees have even devoted 100 percent of their time to union activities. "In one instance [this year], John Reusing, a Social Security Administration employee who was also third vice president of [the American Federation of Government Employees] local 1923 in Baltimore, Maryland, reported that... 'senior union officials offered him 100 percent official time for the rest of his career' if he agreed to keep quiet about the abuse." Silence is hardly necessary, though, since AFGE has acknowledged this activity, albeit in a less brazen form. “For nearly 50 years, federal employees who serve as volunteer employee representatives have used official time to engage in representational activities while on duty status.” CRC authors, Vincent Vernuccio and Trey Kovacs, point out that measurement of this activity is limited and avoided by many agencies. When pressured, however, the federal Office of Personnel Management has acknowledged 2,991,378 reported hours of official time in 2009. That comes to an estimated cost of $129,100,798—"equivalent to the salaries of a workforce of 1,500 full-time government employees, all working on union business but paid by the taxpayer."
    Fergus Hodgson, December 18, 2011
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    Time to account for state property, and purge what is unnecessary

    North Carolina’s auditor, Beth Wood, recently attempted to assess how to better insure the state’s 15,000-odd properties. Unfortunately, this mission proved all-but-impossible, since a comprehensive list of state properties does not exist. Embarrassingly, NC’s Department of Administration lists 406 buildings not reported by the Risk Management Division, and…
    Fergus Hodgson, November 29, 2011
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    Latest state debt rankings out: NC middle of debt-ridden pack

    The State Budget Solutions Project has just released a comprehensive (and painful) assessment of state-level debts. The totals include reported debts plus future liabilities and Unemployment Insurance loans. SBS then ranks each state’s debt per capita, per private sector worker, and as a percentage of private sector economic output.
    Fergus Hodgson, November 24, 2011