Analysis Brief – October 22, 2013


We’re going back to Asheville, December 11th-13th, for our 2013 Winter Conference at the Omni Grove Park (Inn). Click here for the registration packet and hotel reservation information. Members need to act quickly in order to take advantage of the group hotel rate!

Click here for a recent column by our Winter Conference Keynote Speaker, Steve Straus.

Remember, in order to take advantage of the Membership Rate for the Conference, you need to renew your members for 2013-14.

Also, if you are asked by your Purchasing Office for our E-Verify Affidavit, click here to download a copy.

FY 2014 Powell Bill Allocations Grow… Slightly

NCDOT released their FY 2014 Powell Bill Allocation Report earlier this month. Overall allocations increased 2% compared to last year, with most of the 507 eligible municipalities seeing little to no growth in allocations.

Click here to view “State of Powell Bill” Analayis at

Click here for NCDOT FY 2014 Powell Bill Allocation Report (PDF)

Data Backup Expected After Shutdown

With the end of the Federal shutdown, expect delays in delivery of monthly and quarterly economic data. As it becomes available, it will be featured in future briefs.

Construction Spending Improves

Today’s report showed that August construction spending was up 0.6% nationally in August , with the August increase upgraded to 1.4%. Home improvement activity, which would drive retail sales tax revenue, remains “restrained” according to Wells Fargo, with stronger growth in multi-family construction over the summer than single-family housing.

Slow Job Growth Disappoints


Wells Fargo predicts that Quantitative Easing will continue at existing levels, with August employment report from BLS showing only an increase of 148,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate did drop to 7.2%, but this was once again driven more by labor force contraction rather than employment growth.

NC’s Job Growth Created by Metros

How significant of a difference in job growth in North Carolina’s metropolitan areas compared to the rest of the state?

  • Since January 2007, North Carolina payroll has grown by 75,771 (unadjusted, as of August 2013).
  • In that same timeframe, North Carolina MSA payroll has grown by 135,660. This means non-MSA areas have seen net payroll contraction of nearly 60,000 during the same period.

For the first 8 months of this year (January-August), non-MSA payroll growth (+21,703) kept pace with slower-than-expected MSA payroll growth (+23,482). At the same time, non-MSA payroll growth for the period was its lowest level since 2009.

Analysis shows most of the non-MSA payroll growth in the first 8 months of the year is seasonal, followed by drop-offs in the final four months of the year. Conversely, MSAs continue to see growth in later months, influenced by overall growth, larger presence of holiday retail and year-around employment needs.

In the final four months of 2012, non-MSAs saw net payroll contraction of more than -20,000. Since the start of the last recession, MSAs have contributed more than 80% each year to net job growth in North Carolina (92% in 2012 alone).

As for MSAs themselves, the Top 10 MSA labor markets accounted for nearly 134,000 net payroll increase since January 2007.

Possible Bright Spot on Retirement Contributions

(From NCLM) The Local Government Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees heard this week that the financial condition of the retirement system could allow the FY14-15 employer contribution rates to be reduced 0.13 percentage points below the FY13-14 level. Favorable market returns on invested assets and lower than assumed payroll increases led to the improved financial condition. The Trustees will decide early in 2014 whether to use the improvement to reduce the employer contribution rate by the full 0.13 points, or to use some or all of the available funding to provide a cost of living adjustment to retiree benefits.

Overview of Provisions in Legislation ending Shutdown, Raising Debt Ceiling

(From NASBO) Late in the evening on October 16, Congress voted to pass a bill (HR 2775) to fund the federal government through January 15, 2014 and suspend the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. The Treasury Department will likely be able to take extraordinary measures to continue borrowing past February 7. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 81-18, and the House followed by approving the measure by a vote of 285-144. The bill was signed into law by President Obama shortly after midnight on October 17, ending a 16-day long government shutdown and extending the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow to help pay for federal expenses. As part of the agreement, the House and Senate also agreed to establish a bicameral budget committee to negotiate a broad budget deal for fiscal 2014, with instructions to complete a conference report by December 13 to allow lawmakers time to draft and pass appropriations before stopgap funding expires in mid-January.

Key Provisions Included in Bill:
The bill, reflecting an agreement reached by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), funds most government operations at fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending levels. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation results in budget authority of approximately $986.3 billion on an annualized basis. The measure makes only one minor change to the Affordable Care Act by providing for stricter income verification requirements for individuals applying for health care exchange subsidies. Other key bill provisions of relevance to states are summarized below. Many of these provisions were added to the measure as new anomalies shortly before the bill was passed.

State Reimbursements: Section 116 of the bill includes explicit language to clarify that states that “used state funds to continue carrying out a Federal program” or furloughed federally-funded employees “shall be reimbursed for any expenses that would have been paid by the Federal Government during such period had appropriations been available, including the cost of compensating furloughed state employees.” The legislation stipulates that this provision applies only to federal programs that states were carrying out prior to the shutdown. The provision applies to any period in fiscal 2014 when a lapse in appropriations occurs, not just the shutdown that took place in October 2013.

Effective Date: Under the bill, fiscal 2014 appropriations are retroactively dated to begin on October 1, 2013, which should help ensure federal grants to states are made whole and do not see any reductions as a result of the shutdown.

Temporary Extensions for Expired Mandatory Programs: The bill extends authorizations for several programs that expired at the end of federal fiscal 2013, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Commodities, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

Backpay for Furloughed Federal Employees: Section 115 of the measure provides for retroactive pay for federal employees, as well as District of Columbia employees, who were furloughed during the shutdown.

Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP): A provision is included to clarify the LIHEAP formula for the distribution of funds to states to ensure funds are allocated consistent with previous years.

Additional Funding for Fire Suppression: Two sections in the bill provide additional funds for the Interior Department and the Forest Service to support firefighting activities.

Disaster Aid for Colorado: One provision raises the cap on federal highway emergency relief funds that can be distributed to the state of Colorado from $100 million to $450 million, to be used to support repair and recovery efforts from recent flood damage.

Budget Autonomy for the District of Columbia: The bill provides the District of Columbia the authority to use local funds to operate throughout fiscal 2014.

Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS) published a budget brief for subscribers providing more in-depth analysis of the bill and its implications for major grant programs for states. This FFIS table, available to the public, lists overall funding levels for major discretionary and mandatory grant programs based on the October 17th budget agreement.

Provisions Excluded from Bill
It is also worth noting several provisions that were excluded from the bill. During the final round of negotiations in Washington over a deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, there was talk of a deal that would include additional flexibility for federal agencies to implement reductions under the sequester. However, such a provision was left out of the final agreement. While Congressional Republicans generally favor such a change, Democrats view it as a mechanism to help keep the sequester in place and therefore have been inclined to oppose additional flexibility for agencies. Another item missing from the bill is a provision explicitly allowing for states to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred from opening national parks during the shutdown. The U.S. Interior Department has said it would need explicit permission from Congress to authorize reimbursement to states for such expenses. Companion bills that would do this have already been introduced in both the House (HR 3286) and Senate (S 1572). During negotiations leading up to the agreement, there were also proposals to prohibit the Treasury Department from using “extraordinary measures” to avoid breaching the debt ceiling and delay the need for a debt limit increase. However, no such provision was included in the final bill.

Articles of Interest

McCrory predicts State might be forced to expand Medicaid (NC Spin)

Mental Health Gaps jeopardize Public Safety (Civitas)

Amtrak reaches Agreements with State to preserve Corridors (Press Release)

Amtrak sets Ridership Record (Press Release)



NCLGBA’s Analyst Brief – August 2, 2013

We had a little bit of a break after the summer conference. Check out what we had to share through workshops and other sessions on our conference archive page.

We encourage you to share this report with colleagues.

Final Legislative Updates

LeagueLINC Bulletin (NCLM)

NCACC Legislative Bulletin

Career Opportunities

Finance Officer/Director of General Administration – Wrightsville Beach (Closes Next Friday, 8/9)

Budget & Special Projects Manager – Town of Garner (Open Until Filled)

Financial Operations Manager – Town of Wake Forest (Open Until Filled)

State Budget Post Mortem

Click Here for NCLM’s Summary of FY 13-15 Budget Provisions

Click Here for Summary of Tax Reform Legislation Implementation (Schedule)

Adopted Budget Extends Transitional Hold Harmless Another Year

(Karl Knapp) The General Assembly approved its final version of the State budget (SB 402 Appropriations Act of 2013) this week and sent it to the Governor, who signed it into law this afternoon. Thanks to the efforts of municipal officials and the General Assembly, the budget includes a one-year extension of the Transitional Hold Harmless payment, which expired in August 2012. The 2013 payment would be made in September, and would be calculated as in past years, but each local government would receive only one-half of the amount calculated. There will be no further extension of the Transitional Hold Harmless beyond 2013. The budget contains several other provisions affecting cities and towns, including changes to water and sewer funding and economic development support.


(BEA) 2nd Quarter GDP grew at an annualized rate of 1.7%, higher than most forecasts and the revised 1st Quarter GDP growth rate of 1.1%. Click here to check out analysis summary from PNC Bank.

(BLS/Wells Fargo) US job growth for July (162,000) was short of analyst expectations, with the reported national unemployment rate (7.4%), reaching its lowest level since December 2008, also reflecting the impact of the job growth and a 37,000 reduction in labor force. Average weekly hours worked and hourly earnings declined slightly. Labor force participation dropped to 63.4%, remaining at a level significantly below levels achieved over the past 30 years. Full-time employment (35+ hours) grew by 92,000 in July, showing growth of 172,000 for 2013 so far, though still 1.06 million less than December 2008. Part-time employment has grown by approximately 700,000 since the start of 2013.

(BLS/Wells Fargo) While personal income grew 0.3% in June, personal spending grew 0.5%.The personal saving rate declined to 4.4%.

(BLS/NCESC) North Carolina’s Unemployment Rate for June remained at 8.8%, despite the loss of 10,958 jobs compared to May (likely due to summer job shifts). Labor force also declined by 10,362. Had the labor force remained constant with May, the unemployment rate for June would have been 9.05%.

(NC Comptroller) May 2013 report showed FY12-13 tax revenues increasing 5.4% compared to last year. Personal income tax revenues are up 7.2% and corporate income taxes are up 6.3%, while state sales tax revenues are only up 0.3% for the year. Click here for the Comptroller’s Monthly Report


(NCSU) Mike Walden’s North Carolina Index of Leading Economic Indicators remained unchanged in June, though is still 2.7% compared to a year ago. Significant drops in construction activity (Building Permits) offset improvement in other areas (Unemployment Claims, work hours, employee earnings).

(WellsFargo) New orders grew 1.5% in June, nearly reaching the $500 billion mark and achieving an all-time high and marking continuation of levels over the past couple months that recovered above pre-recession levels.

(WellsFargo/Richmond Fed) June saw significant improvement in the ISM national production and new orders indices, reflecting continued expansion in the manufacturing sector. Click here for more information. For the Mid-Atlantic, including North Carolina, the index did improve in June, though declined significantly in July to -11, driven by lower capacity utilization and reduce order backlog, along with increased inventories in finished goods and raw materials. Regional employment in the sector was flat. Expectations for the remainder of 2013, however, grew and remain stronger than current conditions. Click here for the Richmond Fed District report.

(WellsFargo) Construction spending did fall less than 1% in June, consistent with other observations of an unexpected early summer slowdown. Revised information for earlier months point to a stronger spring. Click here for more information.

Economic Updates

Dr. Woody Hall’s updated presentation from the summer conference is now available (click here). You can also check out his presentation from last week’s NCLGIA Conference in the embed below:

Wells Fargo’s Outlook Videocast for July focused on current conditions and continued domestic recovery:

What’s Up with Gas Prices?



Crude Oil prices have surged up 25% compared to last summer. How is impacting retail prices?



Nationally, gas prices are a couple percent higher right now than they were a year ago. North Carolina prices, while increasing significantly compared to earlier this summer, are on par with last summer.

Still, the significant mid-summer increase does have an impact.

From FuelFix:

Gasoline prices jumped 14 cents per gallon in July, making this the third most expensive summer driving season so far, according to AAA.

The average national pump price took drivers on a roller-coaster ride during the month, surging 20 cents from the summer’s lowest gas price so far on July 7 ($3.47 per gallon) to the summer’s highest on July 19 ($3.67). In total, the average gasoline price grew 3.9 percent during the month, from $3.49 to $3.63.

Overall, it was the largest monthly increase since February.

“July was a volatile month for consumers with gas prices reeling from the lowest to the highest averages seen in months.” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “A combination of expensive crude oil costs, refinery glitches and rising summer demand resulted in sharp price spikes for many motorists.”

For the entire month, gasoline averaged $3.58 per gallon, 16 cents higher than last July. Still, the month was less costly for drivers than July 2008 and July 2011, when gasoline averaged $4.06 and $3.65 respectively, according to AAA.

Those also were the years with the most expensive average summer gas prices. The average gas price so far this summer is $3.59 per gallon, compared to $4.04 during the same period in 2008 and $3.67 in 2011.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil hit a 16-month high of $108.05 per barrel on July 19. Crude prices account for about two-thirds of consumer gasoline prices, according to AAA.

“Millions of Americans take long road trips in August and any unexpected production problems can result in serious supply and demand issues,” continued Ash. “We often see refinery problems and major hurricanes drive up prices this time of year, which means motorists could be in for a rough time at the pump in the coming weeks if something goes wrong.”

The direction of gas prices for the rest of the summer driving season, which extends from Memorial Day (May 27) to Labor Day (Sept. 2), largely will depend on weather and refinery performance, AAA noted. Prices were hit hard in August 2012, when Hurricane Isaac temporarily took several refineries out of operation, causing gas prices to surge 33 cents over the month.

Today, a gallon of regular gasoline averages $3.63 per gallon, 13 cents higher than a year ago. Houston drivers are paying an average of $3.51, up 16 cents from a year ago.

News Notes

(AP/MSNBC) Four of Five Americans live in danger of falling into poverty

(Denver Business Journal) Ford launching CNG-powered F150

(Harvard) Intergenerational Mobility Varies by Region

(TBJ) Want to climb the income ladder? Get out of Raleigh

(NewGeorgraphy) E-Shopping Bubbling While Retail Bums Along

(NewGeography) Raleigh ranked in Top 5 of “Most Aspirational” Cities

Of Interest in History Today

On this day, 90 years ago, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States following the untimely death of the 29th President, Warren Harding.

Coolidge was vacationing with his parents at their home in Vermont. His father, a Notary Public, administered the Oath of Office in their living room.

From President Coolidge’s own account:

On the night of August 2, 1923, I was awakened by my father coming up the stairs, calling my name. I noticed that his voice trembled. As the only times I had ever observed that before were when death had visited our family, I knew that something of the gravest nature had occurred.

He placed in my hands an official report and told me that President Harding had just passed away. My wife and I at once dressed.

Before leaving the room I knelt down and, with the same prayer with which I have since approached the altar of the church, asked God to bless the American people and give me power to serve them.

My first thought was to express my sympathy for those who had been bereaved and after that was done to attempt to reassure the country with the knowledge that I proposed no sweeping displacement of the men then in office and that there were to be no violent changes in the administration of affairs. As soon as I had dispatched a telegram to Mrs. Harding, I therefore issued a short public statement declaratory of that purpose.

Meantime I had been examining the Constitution to determine what might be necessary for qualifying by taking the oath of office. It is not clear that any additional oath is required beyond what is taken by the vice president when he is sworn into office. It is the same form as that taken by the president.

Having found this form in the Constitution, I had it set up on the typewriter, and the oath was administered by my father in his capacity as a notary public, an office he had held for a great many years.

The oath was taken in what we always called the sitting room, by the light of the kerosene lamp, which was the most modern form of lighting that had then reached the neighborhood. The Bible which had belonged to my mother lay on the table at my hand. It was not officially used, as it is not the practice in Vermont or Massachusetts to use a Bible in connection with the administration of an oath.

Besides my father and myself, there were present my wife, Senator Dale, who happened to be stopping a few miles away, my stenographer, and my chauffeur.


Analysis Roundup – July 8, 2013

Contributions, anyone?

Members are more than welcome to make suggestions regarding content, as well as share links to articles and other information of interest. If you have something you want to share, send it by email to

Senate Pulls Back on Tax Reform, Restores Local Sales Tax on Food

Wednesday, the State Senate passed a tax reform deal (in their version of HB998) that restores the local (and state) sales tax on food they wanted to eliminate in an earlier substitute passed by their Finance Committee a few weeks ago.  That does not mean their plan is hold harmless to local governments, as it retains the proposed elimination of local sales tax refunds (beginning January 1, 2016). The issue of whether or not to eliminate local business privilege license fees was pushed to a legislative study committee, which will look at several issues discussed during this session’s tax reform debate.

Click Here for an NCLM Update on the Senate Proposal

The Senate plan also includes measures that were part of their version of the State Budget, such as elimination of some state tax set asides reserved currently for various grant programs.

Duke Energy changing course on Capital, on heels of Rate Increases

As Duke Energy moves forward with state regulators approval for its third rate increase since 2009, its new CEO, Lynn Good, has discussed her interests in changing utility regulations laws to allow regulated utilities to raise rates in order to more directly recover construction costs.

See TBJ Article on Lynn Good’s Recommendation

See WRAL Article on Today’s Duke Energy Rate Hearing

Economic Updates

Richmond Fed Chair Jeffrey Lacker spoke on current economic conditions during a conference on June 28th

Link to Lacker’s text remarks & speech audio

Latest commentaries from Wells Fargo:

June Employment Report (July 5th): Private sector job gains support the outlook for a continued moderate, but subpar, growth path for this year and diminish any case for dramatic weakness or recession. The private sector continues to be the driver of job growth (top graph), with gains evident in trade, finance, business services, education and health as well as in leisure and hospitality. Another drop in manufacturing is consistent with the ISM manufacturing survey results and weaker export growth…The growth in average hourly earnings improved 2.2 percent over the past year. With recently lower CPI inflation, we are now seeing a rise in real incomes and therefore expect continued momentum for consumer spending. In this cycle, the response of earnings to declining unemployment has not been as strong as in prior cycles, and therefore the gains in real income remain subpar compared to earlier recoveries.

(ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, July 5th) The service sector continues to reflect modest improvement. New orders and business activity remain above break-even, although both have moderated in June. One cautionary note is that new export orders fell below 50, and this might suggest some weakness in export growth going forward.

(Overview, July 5th) Modest domestic U.S. growth remains the outlook as both the ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing surveys signaled continued growth but not an acceleration. Another decline in jobless claims reinforced that message… Meanwhile, the weakness in exports, due to soft global demand, reflected in a wider trade deficit, which will subtract from second quarter GDP growth.

Article of Interest

Where there’s a brew, there’s a way?




Analysis Roundup – June 24, 2013

Next Analysis Roundup will be posted July 1st

Links of Interest

DRAFT Agenda for 2013 NCLGBA Summer Conference

Make sure to contact Justin Amos by Wednesday, June 26th, to register!

Call (704) 336-5022 or Email 

An Expert Opinion: Advancing Your Career

Video: Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvency (H4) Program Changes & FY 2014 Local Budgetary Impact

ABFM Line Item: June 2013 Issue

NCLM LeagueLINC Bulletin – June 21st

NCACC Legislative Bulletin – June 21st

Latest Wells Fargo Weekly Economic Commentary

Wells Fargo June Economic Outlook (Video)

Wells Fargo “Week Ahead” Podcasts

NCLM Executive Director Hankins to Retire (Press Release)

House/Senate Still Working Out Tax Reform

The North Carolina Senate did not vote last week on adoption of a Finance Committee  substitute  According to reports from media and NCLM, leaders in both the House and Senate are trying to work on a compromise plan.

The substitute plan, which was referred back to the Senate Finance Committee last Wednesday, significantly reduces local revenues starting in fiscal year 2015 by eliminating local eligibility for sales tax refunds (starting July 1, 2014) and eliminating the local share of sales tax charged on food (starting November 1, 2014).

Counties will have the option to institute (by referendum or vote of governing body) a local option sales tax on food to supplement this loss, effective January 1, 2015. If not  implemented at the County level, impacted local governments will have to offset significant reductions in local option sales tax revenues.

Click Here for By-Municipality Analysis of Loss Revenue (via NCLM)

Click Here for Comparative Analysis of House & Senate Tax Reform Plans (via NCLM)

The leadership of the NC House does not support tax reform that has a negative impact on local government revenues. Governor McCrory also appears to be supportive of efforts to keep tax reform “revenue neutral.”

House/Senate to Conference on Budget

The NC House and Senate have selected those members who will serve on a Conference Committee to iron out difference in their budget proposals. If necessary, the General Assembly is prepared to pass a Continuing Resolution in order to continue State operations on July 1st.

The Senate version of the budget does reduce support for several programs utilized by local governments by a greater margin than the version passed in the House. The Senate also eliminated the 40% set-aside of lottery funds to Counties, a measure kept in the House bill.

Housing Market Overview

Wells Fargo Economists Mark Vitner and Anika Khan presented an overview last week of current and anticipated housing market conditions.

Here are their key observations:

  • New household formation (key driver of housing growth and replenishment) remains significantly-below historic averages (980,000 in 2012, compared to historic average of 1,200,000)
  • Household wealth growth is limited to financial assets, while growing in value of housing and other intangible assets is stagnant
  • Low mortgage rates continue to benefit refinancing more than home sales
  • New mortgage applications remain in post-recessionary range near 200,000 applications/week, significantly down from the pre-recessionary range of 400,000/week to 500,000/week
  • Home prices have increased 8-10% in recent months, driven in large part by reduction in foreclosure sales and significant sales to investors (23% of sales in Charlotte are to investors)
  • Homeownership rate has fallen to 65% (pre-recessionary level was 69%)
  • Apartment vacancy rates continue to decline, though this should stabilize with accelerate growth in multifamily housing starts
  • Nationally, 20% of mortgages remain in negative equity (underwater); however, many more still have insufficient equity to fuel market activity
  • Forecasts for 2013: Construction up 28%, new housing sales volume up 28%, existing sales volume up 8%, home prices up 6-8%, 30-year fixed mortgage rate @ 3.93%
  • Forecasts for 2014: Construction up 20%, new housing sales volume up 18%, existing sales volume up 7%, homes prices up 2%, 30-year fixed mortgage rate @ 4.3%

View the Powerpoint Slides Here

Instructions for Conference Call Replay Here

Other Workshop/Event Opportunities (Click to View)

NC Unclaimed Property Holder Seminar – July 17th – Raleigh

NCLGIA Conference – July 24th & 25th – Wrightsville Beach

Introduction to Local Government Finance – August 26 to 29 – UNC School of Government

Lastly, about that Latest Fed Announcement

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did indicate that the Federal Reserve’s currently policy of continued asset purchases will likely end in 2014. This was a contributing factors to significant market sell offs last week (and continuing into this week).


For a professional opinion of what this means, here’s what Wells Fargo said:

As widely expected, the Fed decided this week to keep the fed funds rate essentially at zero percent and to keep purchasing $85 billion worth of securities every month. In addition, the statement that the FOMC released after its meeting this week closely resembled the May 1 statement. However, there was one notable difference between the statements. In May, the FOMC said that it “continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.” This week, the FOMC said that the downside risks have “diminished.”

In our view, this change in language is significant. Although few analysts expected the sequester would throw the economy back into recession, it represented a
downside risk to the economic outlook. Everything else equal, the Fed would want to continue to support the economy via more quantitative easing (QE) as long as the probability of sharply weaker economic growth was not insignificant. However, the economy evidently continues to expand, despite the restraining effects of the sequester, and the probability of a near term downturn has receded.

Neither the FOMC statement nor Chairman Bernanke in his subsequent press conference did anything to disabuse investors from the notion that has gained traction over the past month that the Fed would, sooner or later, begin to “taper” its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. However, Fed officials did not indicate that “tapering” would begin in the near future. The Fed will continue to monitor incoming economic data to ascertain whether the economy still needs the crutch of continued QE. We forecast that after growing 1.5 percent in the current quarter, real GDP will grow 2 percent or so in the second half of the year, which will lead to only a slow decline in the unemployment rate. Therefore, we believe that “tapering” won’t begin until the fourth quarter. Although bond yields could subside somewhat in the near term—the yield on the 10-year Treasury security shot up nearly 30 bps this week, a trend increase in long-term rates seems likely in the coming months.

Analysis Roundup – June 17, 2013

Next Analysis Roundup scheduled for June 24th


Click Here to Register for Summer 2013 Conference Registration & Hotel Info

The conference rate rooms at Shell Island Resort are sold out. The page linked above has information on alternative hotel options.

(From Heather Drennan) The last day to register is Wednesday, June 26. This allows us to work with the hotel to ensure there are enough chairs and enough food. Also, we are on the cusp of being able to add back a snack break that was cut during the recession. If we have enough registrations by the beginning of next week (or at least an email telling Justin Amos the check is in the mail), we might be able to add it back. Yum. Cookies.

Recent Job Announcements (Click on Position Title)

Budget Director – Town of Cary (Open Until 7/15/13)

Career Advice Focus of Most Recent “An Expert Opinion”

Dr. Steve Straus, CEO and Founder of Developmental Associates LLC, shared with us some specific qualities we need to develop to be considered strong candidates for management positions in local government, including those in budgeting and finance.

Click Here for Dr. Strauss’ Career Advice

Local Governments Significantly Impacted by latest Senate Tax Reform Plan

If you happened to receive alerts from NCLM or NCACC, or paid attention to news from Raleigh, you learned just how significant an impact the Senate’s latest tax reform proposal will have on current sources of local government revenue.

Friday’s NCLM LeagueLINC Bulletin reiterated the assessment they provided in an overview of the Senate plan on Thursday (link to by-municipality impact analysis, PDF).

Click Here for the latest bulletin from the NC Association of County Commissioners

How’s the Federal Budget Doing?

Wells Fargo updated their outlook this afternoon on how the Federal Government’s bottom line is performing:

Given the higher-than-expected revenue collections along with continued outlay reductions, we have revised our forecast for the federal budget deficit to $850 billion from $900 billion for the 2013 federal fiscal year. We have also downwardly revised our budget deficit forecast for federal fiscal year 2014 to $750 billion to reflect the higher-than-expected tax revenues from January’s tax policy changes as well as our expectation that the budget sequestration will remain in effect through the next fiscal year. The ongoing cuts to federal spending will continue to negatively affect headline GDP growth through the end of our current forecast horizon of 2014.

FY2012 NC Municipal Benchmarking Statistics Available

(From UNC School of Government) The School of Government’s Final Report on City Services for Fiscal Year 2011-2012: Performance and Cost Data presents data for fourteen North Carolina cities in the service areas of:

  • residential refuse collection
  • household recycling
  • yard waste/leaf collection
  • police services
  • emergency communications
  • asphalt maintenance and repair
  • fire services
  • building inspections
  • fleet maintenance
  • central human resources, and
  • water services.
This report is part of the ongoing North Carolina Benchmarking Project, a joint undertaking of the School of Government and the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association.
Click here for more information or to purchase a copy of the report:
Publication information:
Title: Final Report on City Services for Fiscal Year 2011-2012: Performance and Cost Data
Prepared by: Dale Roenigk
Edition: 2013
No. of pages: 375
Order number: 2013.07
Price: $35.00, plus tax and shipping
If you have questions about this title or other School of Government publications, please email or call 919. 966.4119, then press #1.

Connaughton’s Perspective on NC Economy

UNC-Charlotte Economist John Connaughton updated his economic forecast earlier this month (Click Here for PDF Slides). Here are some of his findings:

Connaughton expects the North Carolina economy to increase by an inflation-adjusted rate of 1.9 percent during 2013. The first quarter Gross State Product (GSP) is expected to increase at an annualized real rate of 1.7 percent. During the second quarter, GSP is expected to increase again, at an annualized real rate of 2.7 percent. In the third quarter, GSP is expected to pick up and record an annualized real growth rate of 2.5 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2013, GSP is expected to grow at an annualized real rate of 3.2 percent…

Connaughton predicts that 13 of North Carolina’s 15 economic sectors are forecast to experience output increases this year, with the strongest performers including

  • Business and Professional Services (+5.8%)
  • Mining (+3.2%)
  • Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (TWU) (+3.1%)
  • Education and Health Services (+2.8%)
  • Wholesale Trade (+2.4%)
  • Hospitality and Leisure Services (+2.2%)
  • Information (+2.1%)

On the jobs front, Connaughton predicts North Carolina to gain 62,500 jobs in 2012, a workforce increase of 1.5%. 12 of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors should see job growth, with the best prospects taking place with information, hospitality and leisure services, and business and professional services.

Connaughton also sees a stronger economy for North Carolina moving forward. While 2013 GSP growth may remain pedestrian at 1.9%, the economist sees 2014 growth outpacing the current year by 3%.

Should We Evaluate Charities by Overhead?

According to a recent initiative by the heads of the three leading charity monitoring efforts, evaluating the performance of a nonprofit primarily on the basis of their overhead costs is not a good idea.

The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—commonly referred to as “overhead”—is a poor measure of a charity’s performance.

We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance:  transparency, governance, leadership, and results.  For years, each of our organizations has been working to increase the depth and breadth of the information we provide to donors in these areas so as to provide a much fuller picture of a charity’s performance.

That is not to say that overhead has no role in ensuring charity accountability. At the extremes the overhead ratio can offer insight: it can be a valid data point for rooting out fraud and poor financial management.  In most cases, however, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity’s financial and organizational performance can do more damage than good.

In fact, many charities should spend more on overhead.  Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments in training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems—as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs.  These expenses allow a charity to sustain itself (the way a family has to pay the electric bill) or to improve itself (the way a family might invest in college tuition).

When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead, we can create what the Stanford Social Innovation Review has called “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.”  We starve charities of the freedom they need to best serve the people and communities they are trying to serve.

Click Here for More on this Topic

Analysis Roundup – June 10, 2013

Next edition will be published June 17th

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NC House Released Budget Proposal, Comparison to Senate Available

The NC House released their 2013-15 biennium budget proposal late Sunday evening. The bill will be debated in the House Appropriations Committee, starting 8:30am tomorrow morning (click here to listen to the meeting as it happens).

Late this afternoon, the NC League of Municipalities published a comparison (click here to view) of how the House plan impacts cities and towns within the state, and how these impacts compare to the version already passed by the Senate. Overall, the House version appears to avoid some of the more noticeable cuts to programs and allowances provided for municipal governments, including the following:

  • Senate budget eliminates the provisional hold harmless allotment for select local governments, while the House version continues it
  • Senate budget eliminates funding for the NC Rural Center, reallocating funds for a new program to be administered by the Department of Commerce. The House proposal, on the other hand, does not eliminate funding and actually increases funding by $3.4 million in FY 2015.
  • Senate budget eliminates the Clean Water Trust Fund, while the House proposal continues and increases funding support.
  • Senate budget reduces Parks & Recreation Trust Fund Grant program by approximately $16.5 million, while the House proposal does not.

We will update this post to include analysis of the House proposal for counties once it becomes available from NCACC.

House Proposal Resources:

Appropriations Committee Report

Budget Proposal (Bill)

WRAL Stories:

House budget lays out stark differences with Senate

House budget subcommittee documents (includes links)

NC House Tax Reform Revised

The NC House will likely vote this week on a tax reform bill that was revised last week to provide some protection for municipal governments with respect to their revenue from utility franchise taxes.

A rundown comparing the House plan to the Senate plan and an alternative proposal (provided by the NCLM) has been updated to reflect these changes (click here to view).

NCLM provided an overview of the change in last Friday’s LeagueLINC Newsletter:

The previous version of HB 998 provided that each city and town would receive distributions each year in the future equal to the amount it received in electricity and natural gas franchise tax distributions for FY 13-14. The new version of the bill will continue to keep city electricity and natural gas revenue at the FY 13-14 level or higher, but only if sales of gas and electricity do not decline below the FY 13-14 level. While such a decline in electricity sales is unlikely, the sensitivity of natural gas sales to winter temperatures makes a decline in these sales more possible.

Bond Referendum Debt Information Bill Modified

Click here to view the revised version.


The Senate Finance Committee gave its approval this week to HB 248 Taxpayer Debt Information Act, which would require bond order information to include an estimate of the interest to be paid on the bond, and would require that any bond referendum include a statement that the bond repayment will include interest and that additional taxes may be required for repayment. The League opposed the original version of the bill because it required the estimate of the amount of interest be written into the referendum. Bond attorneys had indicated to the State Treasurer that this requirement could invalidate a debt issuance because interest rates at the time of the issuance are likely to be different than estimated rates submitted on the ballot. The current version of the bill avoids this problem.

LGC Issues Memo on New Unemployment Insurance Requirements

The Local Government Commission distributed guidance last week on the requirements regarding reform of the Unemployment Insurance program adopted by the Governor and General Assembly earlier this year.

Click Here to View the LGC Memo (PDF)

The instructions appear to align with the information we shared in a special presentation that was part of our Analysis Roundup on March 22nd.

Click Here to View the Original NCLGBA Tutorial

North Carolina GDP Grows 2.7% in 2012

The state’s gross domestic product grew 2.7% last year, on pace with all of our neighboring states except Tennessee, though higher than the regional (2.1%) and national (2.1%) aggregates.


Comparatively-speaking, North Carolina continues to outperform the regional and national economy, a trend that has continued since 2005.



Walden’s Outlook for Summer 2013

NC State University Economist Dr. Michael Walden recently-published his Economic Outlook for the summer. You can view it here (PDF).

Here’s some of Dr. Walden said about the North Carolina economy at the present:

Evidence suggests the North Carolina economy has been growing slightly faster than the national economy. Growth in both labor compensation (a proxy for gross domestic product) and payroll employment has been better in the state during the past three years. The state’s retail, housing, and public revenue sectors also show solid signs of having turned the corner to improvement…

North Carolina is expected to add over 100,000 payroll jobs in both 2013 and 2014, and by the end of 2014 the state’s jobless rate will have dropped to 6.8%. Four factors will push the state’s economic recovery: a manufacturing revival, a construction surge, a boost in college graduates attracting knowledge-based industries, and an influx of retirees. The Triangle and Asheville regions will have unemployment rates under 6% by the end of 2014, while Rocky Mount will still have a double-digit jobless rate…

True to the state’s pattern of a more volatile business cycle, labor compensation fell relatively more during the peak recessionary year of 2009 in North Carolina than in the U.S. However, the rebound in labor compensation in 2010, 2011, and 2012 has been as strong or slightly stronger in the state than in the nation. The state’s different economic structure – primarily its greater reliance on manufacturing – is the primary reason given for both deeper recessions and stronger recoveries in North Carolina compared to the country…

The economic divides in North Carolina likely won’t close in the near future. Economic trends and technologies appear to be favoring metropolitan areas over non-metropolitan regions. As growth continues, metropolitan areas will likely expand their geographic scope – hence, counties designated as metropolitan will likely increase in the future. Challenges will persist for bringing
economic growth to all regions of North Carolina.

Here are Dr. Walden’s forecasts for national, statewide and metropolitan unemployment.


Analysis Roundup – May 31, 2013

Next Analysis Roundup will be published Monday, June 10th

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Followup on Tax Reform, League Analysis Now Available

Yesterday, we shared an overview of the tax reform plans introduced for legislative review yesterday in the NC House and Senate Finance Committees (click here for the summary).

This afternoon, the NC League of Municipalities published its comparative analysis of how each plan would impact local government revenues, specifically looking at the impact on municipalities. You can view it by clicking here.

Here is further analysis from today’s NCLM League LINC newsletter:

The League thanks the sponsors of all three bills for working to limit the fiscal consequences of tax reform to municipalities. Of the three bills, HB 998 appears to provide the cleanest mechanism for ensuring that no individual city or town’s revenues will decrease under tax reform.

The House is expected to approve HB 998, possibly as part of its version of the budget. Prospects for the Senate bills are less clear. Although supported by the Senate leadership, SB 677 contains some provisions that are expected to meet resistance, such as applying sales tax to food and medicine not covered by insurance. The Governor already has indicated that he opposes such measures, as well as a sales tax expansion that imposes the responsibility to collect taxes on too many businesses. The eventual compromise plan may include elements of all three bills. Fiscal impact information is available on only two of the bills, HB 998 (impact) and SB 394 (impact), but some of the figures in the impact statements do not appear to reflect the actual bill language. Sufficient data is not yet available to allow city-by-city impacts to be estimated. Only SB 394 would significantly affect municipal revenues for FY 13-14.

All three bills would expand the local sales tax to cover services, but the range of services covered varies widely, with SB 677 applying the tax to most services delivered to consumers, but not on business-to-business transactions. Both Senate bills would affect the municipal privilege license tax, SB 394 by eliminating it and SB 677 by capping it at $500 per location. Each of the three bills would eliminate the franchise tax on electricity and natural gas and the local distribution of a portion of such taxes, but the bills differ in how this revenue would be replaced. Both Senate bills also would eliminate the local distribution of beer and wine taxes and the local government sales tax refund. SB 677 also would reduce the local sales tax rate, but it would cap sales tax refunds to non-profits.

Each of the bills attempts to ensure that cities and towns receive as much revenue under its new system as they do under the current system, but how this would be done varies.

HB 998 would replace the franchise tax revenue with a distribution equal to the amount of franchise tax each municipality received during FY 13-14. Combined with the additional revenue received from the sales tax expansion, HB 998 would ensure that each city and town would receive at least as much revenue in the future under the new tax system as it did during FY 13-14.

SB 677 includes a transitional hold harmless provision that would ensure that each municipality receives as much revenue in FY 14-15 and FY 15-16 as it did from sales taxes and the repealed state-collected taxes during 2014. It would not hold citiesharmless for the privilege tax change. The hold harmless would phase out by 10 percent each year and expire after FY 24-25.

SB 394 includes a hold harmless only for the electricity franchise tax, but its combination of tax changes are designed to provide each city and town with more revenue than under the current system. Sufficient data is not yet available to determine whether this goal is met at the individual municipality level, or only in the aggregate.

In reference to the point made about the Governor’s preferences, Governor McCrory did indicate he prefer a “measured” tax reform effort similar to that of the House, as opposed to that of the Senate.

Employment Continues to improve in most of NC

The NC Division of Employment Security released April 2013 employment and unemployment statistics for counties and metropolitan areas this week. Overall, they found that unadjusted unemployment rates declined in 97 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

32 counties have rates still above 10%, compared to 42 in March. 75 counties saw actual increases in employment for the month, with 17,252 jobs added in April compared to March (+0.4%).

Dare County had the largest growth in jobs for the month (2,730).

In-depth statistics on local unemployment are available at their Demand Data Driven Delivery System (D4) website (click here).

Economic Updates from Richmond Fed District

The Richmond District of the Federal Reserve provides monthly updates on economic data for its region and each member state, including North Carolina. It is a good way to see how we size up with our neighbors and other states in the Mid-Atlantic.

Click on the links below for their latest monthly reports, many of which were updated this week and today:

Regional Survey of Business Activity

Regional Survey of Business Conditions

Regional Mortgage Performance Summaries

Survey of Business Conditions for the Carolinas

Economic Indicators

District Snapshop

LGC Delays Debt Term Limit Resolution

From Deputy State Treasurer T. Vance Holloman:

The staff of the Local Government Commission (LGC) has received numerous comments, and continues to receive comments, concerning a proposed LGC resolution that documents our long-standing approach to establishing debt term limits.  I want to thank each of you who have responded for your interest and for the time you have taken to respond.  The comments we have received reflect a great deal of thought and analysis on your part.  In order to give your comments the thorough consideration they deserve, the decision has been made to remove this resolution from the LGC’s June 4th agenda.  We anticipate that the resolution will be considered at the August meeting.  In order to incorporate your comments into the proposed resolution, we request all comments be made by the end of the day on June 14th.  We anticipate releasing an updated proposed resolution sometime in the late June, early July time period.  You will be given an opportunity to comment again before the resolution is presented to the LGC in August.  You may submit your comments to me at, Tim Romocki at or Robin Hammond at

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

The resolution (click here to view the full PDF document) would have set in place the following guidelines:

General Obligation Bonds: “…the normal maturity will be twenty (20) years or less, with exceptions for special circumstances or needs, and a requirement of even principal payments annually so that approximately one-half of total principal will be repaid within ten (10) years. Some flexibility may be allowed at the beginning of a term to allow blending with the existing debt service schedule of the Unit. In no case should the term allowed exceed the expected useful life of the asset being financed.”

Installment Purchase Contracts and Certificates of Participation (Limited Obligation Bonds): “…the normal maturity will be twenty (20) years or less with a requirement of level principal payments for governmental activities so that approximately one-half of total principal will be repaid within ten (10) years. Level annual payments may be permitted for debt issued to acquire assets supported by user fees so that customer charges may remain fairly constant from year to year. Some exceptions may be appropriate for larger projects with an asset life extending beyond twenty (20) years such as parking facilities.”

Revenue Bonds: “…the normal maturity shall be between twenty (20) and twenty-five (25) years depending on the life of the asset, with some exceptions for large enterprise financings with longer asset lives. For revenue bonds, the normal bond structure contemplates level annual payments to reflect the normally level stream of revenues generated by the project. With even annual payments, principal payments are initially smaller and increase gradually over the term of the financing much like a home mortgage amortization. Sometimes an exception might be in order to allow a term of thirty (30) to forty (40) years for projects where the asset financed has a longer useful life, such as a nuclear power facility.”

Refunded debt: “…the expectation is that net present value savings from the refunding will be at least three percent (3%) of the amount of bonds or debt refunded. There should be no extension of maturities, and level annual savings. In no event should an original term combined with a refunded term exceed forty (40) years.”

Restructured Debt: “…the (jurisdiction) must be experiencing severe, unforeseeable loss of revenues or additional expenditures. In no event should an original term combined with a restructured term exceed forty (40) years.”

USDA Refinancing: “…the (LGC) has concluded that the USDA terms are no longer advantageous or necessary for (jurisdictions) to achieve its capital improvement goals. When the USDA loan is refinanced with a conventional tax-exempt loan, it should be placed on a conventional footing from the date of the original loan in relation to the remaining term. The (jurisdiction) should have the capacity to make level principal payments and to pay the balance of the loan over the remnant of the period of twenty (20) to thirty (30) years from the date of the original loan. The savings to the (jurisdiction) should be due primarily to actual interest rate-created savings as opposed to solely cash savings realized by shortening up the term. In no event should an original term combined with a refinanced term exceed forty (40) years.”

Economic Commentary from Wells Fargo

Click Here to view this week’s report


  • The second look at Q1 GDP growth showed little change from the first release. The economy grew at a 2.4 percent annualized rate. Personal consumption was revised slightly higher.
  • Personal incomes were flat in April as was wage and salary growth. Personal spending contracted for the month, falling 0.2 percent.
  • Consumer confidence bounced back sharply in May as consumers’ expectations of future economy growth improved.


Analysis Roundup – May 24, 2013

Starting June 3rd, the Analysis Roundup will be normally posted on Monday mornings.

How are we doing? We want to know if this regular update provides value to you as budget practitioners and members of NCLGBA, as well as ways we can improve it.

Click Here to Fill Out Our “Analysis Roundup” Feedback Survey

State Senate Passes Budget

The State Senate introduced their 14-15 biennial budget proposal this past Sunday and passed it on consecutive reading votes Wednesday and Thursday. The bill now goes to the House.

The League of Municipalities prepared an analysis of key budget provisions, which you can view by clicking here. Additional analysis was prepared by the Association of County Commissioners, which you can click here to view.

What does it mean for local governments? 

No Transitional Hold Harmless Included (via NCLM)

“The budget passed by the Senate this week does not include any extension of the transitional hold harmless payments for cities and counties. If these payments are to continue this year and beyond, it is imperative that they are extended in the budget the House passes and sends back to the Senate… If the transitional hold harmless payments are not included in the House budget, they will likely expire permanently.”

Potential Unfunded Mandates (via NCLM)

“The Senate budget contains two provisions that would place unfunded mandates on local governments. The first provision would require that if a State transfer of insurance tax revenue to the Worker’s Compensation Fund for Volunteer Safety Workers is not sufficient to meet the actuarial needs of the Fund, the remainder of the cost would be provided through an assessment of funds from those local governments served by volunteer fire departments and/or rescue squads. We have been told that the elimination of the transfer is planned, which would result in the full costs being placed on local governments. The second provision would take over $10 million per year from the Separate Insurance Benefit Trust, which pays for a modest death benefit and accident insurance for local and state law enforcement officers, and use the funds to pay State Health Plan premiums for State law enforcement officers. Local governments would receive none of the diverted funds, but could be required to replenish the Trust.”

Defunding Current Rural Economic Development Initiatives (via NCLM)

“The budget passed by the Senate this week would make significant changes to how the state supports economic development efforts. The bill would eliminate all State funding for the Center for Rural Economic Development ($16,619,194), Regional Economic Development Partnerships($2,151,517), and Councils of Governments ($328,105). It would transfer the economic development responsibilities of these groups to a new Rural Economic Development Division within the Departmentof Commerce and a new Rural Infrastructure Authority. Senate leaders said that the change is intended to remove an ineffective layer of bureaucracy from business recruitment and force Commerce Department officials to work outside of Raleigh.”

Transportation Funding Changes (via NCLM)

“In addition to the transportation reform provisions discussed in a separate article below, the Senate budget includes several additional transportation provisions affecting cities and towns. The budget would reduce public transportation operating support funding by two percent, following a cut of 9 percent over the last two years. It also would eliminate the Small Urban Construction program, which provides $7 million each year for urban projects on the State system. The allocation of State maintenance funding could change as the result of a provision that would require NCDOT to assess the level of congestion on primary highways and use the assessment as one of the criteria for developing its highway maintenance plan. The budget also would adjust MPO/RPO ethics reporting requirements so that only voting members would be covered. This provision mirrors that in SB 411 Ethics Requirements for MPOs/RPOs, which the League has been working on and which passed the Senate prior to crossover.”

Changes to Support for Water Infrastructure (via NCLM)

“Senate budget-writers proposed several policy changes of note in SB 402 Appropriations Act of 2013 that would affect the way the state awards water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure funds. First, the budget would consolidate the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Natural Heritage Trust Fund into a new “Water and Land Conservation Fund.” Second, the proposal would move both the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund into a new “State Water Infrastructure Authority.” Both new funds would be overseen by separate nine-member authorities, who would have the ability to set the criteria for awarding grants and loans to local governments for these infrastructure projects. The oversight bodies would also make decisions on those awards. Other provisions in the environment section of the Senate budget proposal would make the same changes to the N.C. Environmental Management Commission that have beendebated in other bills this session, and would allow the state to direct taxpayer dollars to private recycling enterprises.”

Changes to Public School Capital Support from Lottery Proceeds (via NCACC)

“Of greatest concern to counties is the rewrite of the state’s lottery statutes to eliminate the guarantee of 40 percent of net lottery proceeds to county school construction. Removing the statutory intent to guarantee the 40 percent may result in future Legislatures using the county share of lottery proceeds for expenses other than school capital needs.”

House brings forward Tax Reform Plan

The Senate did not include any specifics on tax reform in the budget bill they passed this week, though they did forecast reducing tax revenue by approximately half a billion dollars as a result of some type of adopted reform. Last week, the House presented their proposal, which gained support from Governor McCrory.

Unlike the plan introduced a while back at a press conference by Senator Berger, which has not yet been drafted into legislation, the House plan has been submitted as a Committee Substitute to existing tax reform legislation (click here to view). It’s key components are as follows:

  • Eliminate tiered personal income tax rates and establish a single rate of 5.9% (rates are currently tiered at 6% to 7.75%)
  • Expand sales tax to include many services, leaving state rate at 4.5%
  • Reduce corporate income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.75%
  • Reduce state corporate franchise tax
  • Does not eliminate local business license taxes
  • Reduce Article 40 sales tax rate to 0.4%, and expand its base application
  • Eliminate franchise tax on electric and natural gas sales, and replace it with application of the local sales tax, with all funds distributed within each County (point-of-sale) to their municipal governments on a per capita basis.

The changes to the income tax would take effect on January 1, 2014, while the change to the sales tax base and Article 40 rate would take effect on October 1, 2013. The changes to taxation and distribution of tax on electric and natural gas sales would not take effect until July 1, 2014.

According to today’s “LINC IN” email, the League will work on analysis to determine the impact of these changes on individual municipalities. No hold harmless provisions are included in the House plan, as well.

Sequestration Hits Asset Forfeitures

The US Department of Justice Criminal Division distributed guidance to local law enforcement earlier this week (click here to view) that included the following announcement:

Having considered all available alternatives while working to ensure the continued financial health of Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF), the Department determined that effective May 24, 2013, and continuing for the remainder of the federal government’s fiscal year (September 30, 2013), equitable sharing paid through the DOJ AFF will be reduced by 10 percent of the awarded amount. Computation of equitable shares will remain the same and determinations will be made under our pre-existing policies and guidelines.

Summer Gas Price Projections (h/t Karl Knapp)

From Calculated Risk and the EIA Short-Term Outlook…

Falling crude oil prices contributed to a decline in the U.S. regular gasoline retail price from a year-to-date high of $3.78 per gallon on February 25 to $3.52 per gallon on April 29. EIA expects the regular gasoline price will average $3.53 per gallon over the summer (April through September), down $0.10 per gallon from last month’s STEO. The annual average regular gasoline retail price is projected to decline from $3.63 per gallon in 2012 to $3.50 per gallon in 2013 and to $3.39 per gallon in 2014.

Last summer, gasoline prices averaged $3.76 per gallon during the April through September period – so this is a little good news for drivers.

The latest 12-month graph from Gas Buddy suggests prices are improving significantly for North Carolina going into the busy summer driving season. However, they do remain about 6% higher than our neighbors in South Carolina.


Economic Notes (via Wells Fargo & BLS)

  • Federal Reserve does not appear to be pulling back on quantitative easing, at least until fall
  • Existing home sales moved close to annual pace of 5 million in April
  • Durable good orders improved in April, suggesting that manufacturing slowdown may be short-lived
  • Overall inflation as measured by CPI is relatively low (1.1% annual rate), though that appears to be driven by significant reductions in energy prices; regional performance in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic are consistent with the national average
  • North Carolina was one of 40 states to see a reduction in the unemployment rate for April, from 9.2% to 8.9% (seasonally adjusted). Overall employment was up 73,300 from last April, while the unadjusted unemployed count managed to drop 20,000 for the month (to 398,000) with 3,000 of those actually dropping out of the labor force.

Click Here for Wells Fargo Weekly Commentary (PDF)

Click here for their May Outlook Video, including discussion of anticipated slowdown of growth during the second quarter of the year.


Enterprise Utility Bill Changed to Study, Passes House

Last month, NC League of Municipalities reported on H708, which would have dramatically limited the use of funds generated by local government enterprise utilities. The League indicated that the Bill would likely be redrafted to establish a Legislative Study Committee to research this ongoing issue and report back to the General Assembly next year.

A few weeks ago, the House Finance Committee approved this substitute, and the House passed the bill on to the State Senate prior to the “crossover” deadline. The language of the legislation does serve as a rebuke of long-established practices by North Carolina local governments and makes clear the interests and intent of the General Assembly.

SECTION 1.(a)  The General Assembly finds that the ability of a city or county to efficiently and effectively provide public enterprise services is imperiled by the use by that local government of those revenues for purposes other than:

(1)        Paying the costs of operating the public enterprise.

(2)        Making debt service payments.

(3)        Investing in improvements to the infrastructure of that public enterprise.

(4)        Reimbursing the unit of local government for actual direct services provided to the public enterprise.

SECTION 1.(b)  The General Assembly further finds that any excess net revenues should be used to lower rates, advance fund debt service, and fund infrastructure improvements of that public enterprise.

Obviously, this means that the matter, which directly impacts finances and budgeting for many North Carolina municipalities and counties, will be further scrutinized and reconsidered again next year. Last year, the General Assembly did pass limits on Electric Utility enterprise transfers, consistent with guidelines long recommended by the Local Government Commission.

First Quarter GDP Okay, Other Indicators Mixed

  • Overall US Gross Domestic Product grew 2.5% (annual rate) during the first quarter of 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ first report.
  • Actual Real Final Domestic Sales (End-Use Consumer Activity) grew 1.9% (annual rate) during the first quarter.
  • Personal consumption grew 3.2% (annual rate)

Analysis Roundup – April 19, 2013

Let’s start off with a friendly reminder:

Hotel rooms are going fast for our NCLGBA’s 2013 Summer Conference, July 10th-12th, at the Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

To learn more about Shell Island Resort, click here to visit their website.

All rooms are oceanfront suites. Rooms for the conference are $189/night (plus tax). Reservations must be made by phone, calling 910-256-8696. Ask for the “NCLGBA Summer Conference” rate. Deadline for reservations is June 18th.

Click Here to Check Out our Promotional Email

Click Here to Learn More About our Featured Speakers

Click Here for the Registration Packet


Another good reminder:

FY2014 State-Shared Revenue Forecast

Karl Knapp at NCLM released his annual forecast report for municipal governments last week. Click here to access the report link we setup on the NCLGBA website.

Click here for the latest guidance from NCACC (for Counties)

So, what’s new?

State Employment Update

From today’s release from NC Employment Security:

The state’s smoothed seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate decreased to 9.2 percent from February’s revised rate of 9.4 percent… North Carolina’s March 2013 unemployment rate was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than a year ago. The number of people employed decreased 10,954 over the month to 4,307,071, and increased 42,669 over the year. The number of people unemployed fell 11,619 over the month to 435,209, and declined 7,127 over the year.

State Revenue Update

The General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division shared their April General Fund Revenue Report and Economic Outlook Report (click here) with a Joint Meeting of the State House and Senate Finance Committees earlier this week. Here are the highlights:

  • State revenues were $110 million ahead of target at the end of March
  • State income tax revenues are 1.5% ahead of target, while state sales tax revenues are 1.4% below target.
  • Payroll withholding of state income tax reflects a 4% growth rate, slightly above wage and salary growth.
  • Economic growth within the state is expected to continue upward, though the rate is not expected to quicken.
  • Statewide job growth is not expected to pick up in a manner that will significantly impact the real unemployment rate until mid-2014. Unemployment is expected to remain above 9% later this year.
  • Forecast for Gross State Product (GSP) growth in FY2014 was adjusted downward, from 4.5% to 3.6%. Anticiapted retail sales growth was revised down to 2.7%, while wage & salary growth was revised upward to 5.8%.

The overall state sales tax growth target for FY 2013 was 5%, but actual performance suggests that growth in the state tax rate (which affects the Article 40 distribution to local governments) should be 3.1% compared to last year. FY 2012 growth at the state level was 5%.

NC Sales Tax Trend 042013

In addition, you can click here to review the latest State Debt Affordability Study, produced by the State’s Debt Affordability Advisory Committee. The legislature is currently considering a bill that would revise restrictions on State-issued debt.

Economic Notes

Check out the latest Economic Outlook Video from Wells Fargo. Overall, they anticipate a strong report on economic activity for the first quarter of 2013, while the second quarter will see slowdown:

How’s global slowdown affecting oil and commodity prices?

“Commodity markets are certainly turning in to the new radio wave of slower global economic growth as they have not done since the start of the Great Recession in 2007-2008.”

What about inflation?

…the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) pulled back in March, down 0.2 percent, following the 0.7 percent increase registered in February. That is the first monthly decline in headline CPI in four months. In all three March inflation reports, energy price reversals proved to be the dominant driver… With crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices continuing to fall, retail gasoline prices should provide further downward pressure on headline CPI over the next month or so… Food price inflation was also rather tame on the month… Excluding food and energy, consumer prices were mixed, as the core CPI edged up a softer-than-expected 0.1 percent. As seen from the middle chart, the gap between core goods and core services remains wide. Reflecting, in part, consistent increases in shelter costs, transportation services and medical services, the core CPI services index is up 2.5 percent year-over year. In particular, shelter costs, which comprise nearly 32 percent of the core CPI, were up 0.2 percent last month and 2.2 percent over the past year. Core goods prices on the other hand have moderated to a flat year-over-year pace, reflecting sluggish consumer demand… The report remains favorable to the Fed’s outlook and to its highly accommodative monetary policy. At a 1.5 percent year-over-year pace, headline CPI is well below the longer-run target of 2 percent and allows the Fed to maintain the current policy course.

What about housing?

The latest reading on housing starts, showed headline starts surged to a 1.04-million unit pace, the highest level since June 2008. However, much of the increase was due to the volatile multifamily component, which suggests a payback is in order. We are expecting a hand-off from multifamily to single-family units as demand cools somewhat and more deliveries come on line over the next two years, but recent data have yet to reflect this transition. Single-family units fell nearly 5 percent on the month, the second decline in three months, bringing the strength of the housing recovery into question. Moreover, the level of permits is running below the level of starts, suggesting a further decline in single family units is imminent.

Looks like economic activity, and retail sales, are a little mixed:

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, released yesterday, fell 0.1% in March, reflecting downturns in advance metrics for manufacturing output, new orders, consumer opinions, and new construction. 

Retail sales downshifted in March, falling a disappointing 0.4 percent. The control group within retail sales, which captures the categories that flow into the GDP calculation, fell 0.2 percent, underscoring the downshift in consumer spending for the month. Sales rose for furniture, non-store retailer and eating and drinking places. Sales contracted the most for general merchandise stores and gasoline stations. The decline in gasoline station sales, in part, reflects the decline in average gasoline prices for the month. The disappointing retail sales numbers, combined with a downshift in job and income growth, are signs that another spring slowdown is likely to take place again this year. We continue to expect consumers to remain cautious in the months ahead as economic uncertainty reemerges.

Gross domestic product rose only 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter after posting a 3.1 percent increase in the third quarter. Fourth quarter growth was supported by consumer spending, business fixed investment, residential investment and net exports.
Government spending and inventories subtracted from the headline growth figure. We believe this year started with a much stronger pace of growth, around 2.8 percent. Growth in the first quarter should be led by much stronger personal consumption
expenditure growth along with inventory building. We expect that nonresidential construction and net exports will subtract from growth in the first quarter. Going forward we expect real GDP growth to downshift again this year, beginning in the second quarter to around 1.8 percent before returning to around 2.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

What are small businesses thinking?

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index pulled back in March as business owner’s continued to struggle with an unusually tough operating environment as fewer respondents expected sales to increase, and fewer small-business owners expected to increase their hiring activity. The top concerns for owners remains taxes, regulation and poor sales. The most concerning aspect of the report was that small-business owners now view the economic outlook more negatively than they did during the recession. Given the importance of the small business sector in job creation, the ongoing depressed level of confidence will likely keep near-term job gains limited.

And, lastly, manufacturing?

Over the first quarter, industrial production rose at a 5.0 percent annualized rate. This is up from a 2.3 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter and supports our call for a significant strengthening in GDP growth in the first quarter of this year… March production was boosted by a 5.3 percent rise in utilities output as cooler-than-average weather over the month boosted demand for heating. Mining output fell for the second time in three months and is down since the start of the year. 

Furthermore, output in the key manufacturing sector weakened in March. Production fell o.1 percent, making February’s 0.1 percentage point upward revision a wash. Weakness in March was widespread across industries. Production of nondurable goods was flat and production of durable goods gave back some of February’s gain, declining 0.2 percent. Leading the pullback was a fall in the production of primary metals and electrical equipment.

Articles of Interest

Click Here for today’s NC League of Municipalities LeagueLINC Bulletin

Click Here for the latest Legislative Bulletin from NC Association of County Commissioners

Our latest “An Expert Opinion” – Food for Thought on Nonprofit Funding Evaluation

(WRAL) Google investing $600 million in Lenoir data center

NCLM Overview of Governor McCrory’s Transportation Reform Plan

Governor McCrory Unveils Strategic Mobility Fund

By Kathryn Trogdon, NC Metro Mayors Coalition

Gov. McCrory presented his transportation plan Thursday, which is more data driven in its prioritization of projects.

Praises and critiques of the new plan are already being heard among legislators.

“The problem is we, right now, do not have a long term strategic transportation policy to connect our strong economic regions to give us the most bang for our limited dollars,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

But he said the new plan would change the way transportation has been done for 20-30 years by data driven prioritization to create better jobs and better opportunities for all North Carolinians.

“It’s going to be a battle because a lot of people like the status quo of the way things have been going since 1988,” McCrory said to ABC11. “I personally think we need to change them.”

The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has been working with the governor, his team and the legislators on the proposal.

“As mayor of Charlotte, Gov. McCrory founded the MetroMayors Coalition around the same transportation concepts that he rolled out today,” said Metro Mayors Chair and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature as the bill makes its way through the legislative process.”

The Plan

Under the plan, also known as the Strategic Mobility Formula, the Highway Fund would be exclusively maintenance and the Highway Trust Fund will be all construction.

The plan focused on the Highway Trust Fund, which would take all the monies in the mobility fund, equity fund, secondary roads, loops and interstates and distribute them into three tiers: statewide, regional and division.

North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata said the state needs to find more efficient ways to fund transportation because of increasing population and decreasing revenues.

We’re expecting 1.3 million citizens to come to North Carolina over the next 10 years and we have a continued decline in revenue,” he said. “We’re seeing a 1.7 billion decrease in revenue over the next 10 years so we have to find more efficient and strategic ways to fund, distribute and prioritize transportation projects that will have the biggest impact statewide, regionally and locally.”

He said the declining funds are a result of all three revenue streams being flat, decreasing or down from previous highs.

“Our motor fuels tax is declining even when factoring in population growth because vehicles are more fuel efficient, and so we’re losing about 2 percent a year in our revenue.

Tata said there would be roughly $10 billion available to distribute between the tiers over 10 years.

Forty percent of the funds, roughly $6.4 billion, would be allocated to the statewide tier and could be spent on the interstate, national highways system, national defense highways, turnpikes and Appalachian Highways system.

These projects will be prioritized solely on data driven factors.

“The Strategic Mobility Formula is data and fact driven to ensure we are investing in the areas with the most pressing needs to reduce travel time, reduce congestion, attract business, enhance safety and improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,” he said.

The plan would designate another 40 percent, around $6.4 billion, for the regional tier.

Projects that qualify under the regional tier include any projects that did not succeed in the statewide tier and projects of significance to the region. The money will be distributed to paired highway divisions.

The division pairings include: Division 1 and 4, 2 and 3, 5 and 6, 7 and 9, 8 and 10, 11 and 12, and 13 and 14.

Projects will compete within their paired divisions for the funding and will be prioritized 70 percent on data and 30 percent on MPO/RPO ranking.

Finally, those projects that don’t succeed in the regional tier would qualify for the division tier along with other projects important to the divisions.

This tier will receive 20 percent of the funding, about $3.2 billion. Funds in this tier will be distributed equal share to each division, and projects will be prioritized by 50 percent data and 50 percent MPO/RPO ranking.

The plan would also allow all modes of transportation to compete for funding.

“It allows for more local input and allows for all modes to compete for funding,” Tata said.

Tata said the new plan would create many new, much-needed jobs.

He said, under the current 10 year plan, there are about 175 projects that are supporting 174,000 jobs, and the new plan would allow for about 260+ projects supporting 240,000 jobs.

The plan would create these jobs by giving people better access to better job opportunities, he said.

“We’re not just moving people,” Tata said. “We’re connecting them to greater opportunities, jobs, healthcare, education, recreation centers, and we’d love to get all of our people moving forward.”

He said the plan would make this possible by using the same amount of money just employing it differently.

Praise and Criticism

McFarlane talked with Tata during the development of the plan specifically on the Coalition’s concerns surrounding changes to the Powell Bill. The plan as introduced today calls for Powell Bill to be paid only from the Highway fund, but at the same level as previous years and without any changes to the distribution formula.

Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, said he supports the plan, because it will help fund the most beneficial projects.

“We can build what we need instead of building what we can get funded,” he said. “Because sometimes, there will be money available for a type of project which may not be the optimal answer for a region. But it’s what they can get funded, so it’s what they do.”

Brawley said a good example of an area this plan would help is I-85 near Charlotte.

“You’ve got an area where you’ve got four lanes. You go to two lanes, and then you go back to four lanes,” he said. “Well those two lanes in the middle, it’s almost like a blood clot.”

Rep. John Torbett, Rep-Gaston, said he supports the plan, because it allows all modes of transportation to compete for funding.

“There’s more to economic opportunity and job development if you incorporate everything,” he said. “I think the broader focus on every avenue of transportation is a very positive thing for the state.”

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said he hoped once the bill reached the General Assembly it wouldn’t change much at all.

He said he wanted to retain the access to funds by all modes of transportation even though he knows several people who do not think light rail should be included.

Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, said she did not think all modes of transportation would get the same funding based on the number of people that use them.

“There is no way that light rail could be considered on level footing with roads and streets,” she said.

See also:

Transportation plan would focus dollars on big-ticket items

North Carolina would concentrate more money on big-ticket transportation projects like bridges, new road links and upgrading rail lines under a transportation plan rolled out Thursday by Gov. Pat McCrory and endorsed by top legislativeleaders.

McCrory outlines plan to shift transportation dollars

Gov. Pat McCrory outlined a new transportation funding plan Thursday that he said would accelerate work on needed transportation projects and create thousands of new jobs – all with existing money.

Governor announces new funding formula for state, local transportation projects

Gov. Pat McCrory has announced a change in the way transportation projects are funded and prioritized-a formula he said will improve the state’s economic recovery and involve more local input in the process.


Analysis Roundup – April 5, 2013

Where do we begin…

FY2014 State-Shared Revenue Forecast

Karl Knapp at NCLM released his annual forecast report for municipal governments last week. Click here to access the report link we setup on the NCLGBA website.

Click here for the latest guidance from NCACC (for Counties)

Shameless NCLGBA Summer Conference Info

Click Here to Check Out our Promotional Email

Click Here to Learn More About our Featured Speakers

Click Here for the Registration Packet

Job Announcements – Just Added to Career Gateway

Business Services Manager – Charmeck Police (Closes 4/16)

Library Finance Director – Mecklenburg County (Closes 4/18)

Business Manager/Controller – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities (Closes 4/21)

Legislative Update

The General Assembly is moving forward with tax reform. Karl Knapp and other members of the NC League of Municipalities Staff have been hard at work assessing the impact proposed changes to state tax law will have on revenues shared and/or allocated to local governments.

Click Here for Summary of Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee Work

Click Here for This Week’s NCLM Bulletin

Don’t Forget UI

The Governor has already signed off on reform of the Unemployment Insurance program that will create significant changes for the appropriate of local government funding of their UI obligations in FY 2014.

Check out the tutorial video embedded below, or click here to see our original post on the subject.

NC Economic Update

Mike Walden’s NC Index of Leading Economic Indicators showed no change in February, the second straight months conditions kept status quo in the aggregate.

As usual, there was a mix of gains and losses among the Index’s components. Showing improvement was a big drop in initial jobless claims and a modest increase in manufacturing hours. These were countered by drops in building permits and manufacturing earnings. The national leading index was also unchanged. Similar to January’s Index, February’s result points to continued gains in the state’s economy at the pace seen in recent months.

National Economic Reports (from Wells Fargo Economics Group)

On today’s unemployment/employment numbers…

Nonfarm employment increased by 88,000 jobs in March and averaged 168,000 over the past three months. Both January and February job gains were revised up by a net 61,000, and March’s number could be revised up later as well. The private sector continues to be the driver of job growth, averaging 171,000 job gains over the past three months. Gains were evident across most key sectors including construction and business services. However, manufacturing employment was disappointing with a decline of 3,000, while retail trade employment fell by 24,000 on the heels of sharp declines in employment at building materials and clothing stores. The bottom line is that from an employment perspective growth continues, but the recent pace does not appear to be sustainable for the entire year. We expect that the strength in the first quarter GDP release will not be repeated the rest of 2013…the unemployment rate (for March) fell to 7.6 percent as the labor force participation rate fell to 63.3 percent—the lowest level since May 1979…the growth in average hourly earnings has slowed again, contrary to recent trends, and weakens the case for better consumer spending…income gains continue to disappoint and reinforce the message of sluggish consumer spending ahead…there is more structural unemployment than many analysts and policymakers have suggested. The unemployment rate for workers without a high school diploma is 11.1 percent and 15.8 percent for construction and extraction workers.

On this week’s report of significant rise in auto sales…

The steady pace of improvement can be attributed to several economic factors, but primarily changing credit conditions, along with an aging car fleet, have helped to drive auto sales higher…Experian Automotive also reported that the average loan term for new vehicles rose to a new high of 65 months in the fourth quarter of 2012. The higher loan terms along with the current low interest rate environment has increased consumer accessibility as average monthly loan payments have declined. Experian also reported that average credit scores for both new and used vehicles dropped in the last quarter of 2012. The fall in average credit scores provides one indication of loosening credit standards… The average age of vehicles on the road climbed to 11 years in 2012 indicating that replacement demand has played some role in boosting auto sales, a trend we expect to continue in the months ahead. At the same time, the increase in the average age of vehicles on the road is good news to auto repair shops, which are typically small businesses… This year we expect light vehicle sales to reach a 15.5 million-unit pace after the 14.4 million-unit pace observed last year. We expect retail sales over the next few months will continue to reflect the strength in the auto and parts dealer sales. The robust pace of auto sales should help to support consumer spending in the 2 percent range this year.

Check out Wells Fargo’s special report on an alternative approach to measuring State-level economic performance.

Geek Moments

If your the kind of person who enjoys debates on general economic theory, check out this debate from last month featuring UNC School of Government Economist, Dr. Karl Smith, intellectually battling Dr. Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Click Here for the Footage

This past Tuesday, in another event of interest to economic afficianados, Richmond Fed District President Jeffrey Lacker spoke alongside Chicago Fed District President Charles Evans. Their viewpoints reflect polar opposite views on current Federal Reserve monetary policy, especially with respect to the current and ongoing phase of quantitative easing and the establishment of a formal benchmark for gauging policy achievement with regard to “full employment.” A synopsis of the debate will be shared next week, but you can check out the video of the event from Richmond below.

Click here to download slide presentations

SECoPA 2013 in Charlotte – Call for Proposals Deadline May 15th

The Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SECoPA) will be hosted in Charlotte at the City Center Marriott, September 25th to 28th.

This interdisciplinary conference will explore a wide array of public and nonprofit sector issues from a variety of perspectives.  We encourage academics, practitioners, and students to submit proposals.

The 2013 conference theme of “Fueled by the Past, Racing towards a Brighter Future in Public Service” recognizes the importance of past practices and experiences as well as new ideas and innovations in addressing the current challenges of public service delivery.  This theme is also meant to reflect the importance of the relationship between academics and practitioners, a distinguishing feature of public administration and SECoPA.  Program tracks and research areas of interest include:

  • Local Government Performance Management
  • Nonprofit Leadership and Management
  • Economic Policy
  • Disasters/Hazards/Emergency Management
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Ethics
  • Finance and Budgeting
  • Health Administration and Policy
  • Human Resource Management
  • International and Comparative Public Administration
  • Performance Management
  • Policy, Planning and Program Evaluation
  • Public Management and Organization Theory
  • Social Welfare Policy
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Planning and Policy
  • Comparative Public Administration

For those interested in submitting an academic paper, please provide (by email attachment) a one page abstract that includes paper title, research question, summaries of theory, data, method, preliminary findings (if any) and importance or implications of the work.

For practitioners who want to submit a professional presentation or panel without a formal paper, please give a presentation/panel title, suggested track (from bullet list above), institutional affiliation, 1 page description of the content of the presentation, what people will learn or be able to do when they leave the session and some indication of presentation length (typical presentations should be 10-20 minutes, typical panels consist of multiple presentations over 60-80 minutes).

All proposals must be submitted no later than May 15, 2013 by email to

If you would like assistance in developing a proposal, contact Kenneth Hunter by email to

For more information above the program, contact Bradley E Wright, program co-chair, at or 404.413.0109.

For more information about the conference in general, contact the conference co-chair Sarah Poulton ( or Phin Xaypangna ( or visit