The positions of the WakeLP on these local issues reflect the value we place on individual liberty as well as our opposition to government interference in the lives and private business of all Wake County residents. We urge local government officials and candidates for office to act in accordance with the policies outlined here.
With respect to any issues not discussed here, we favor policies supportive of individual liberty and personal responsibility and defer to the Libertarian Party of North Carolina and the national Libertarian Party platforms for issues affecting us at the state and national levels.
We believe parents deserve more control over where their children go to school. Parents should be able to hold schools accountable for a student-centered educational funding model (aka “backpack budgeting”). Public charter schools, vouchers, and Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) are helpful because they encourage education systems to respond to the needs of each family.
Local school boards and teachers can better serve parents and communities when they have greater control over calendars and curriculum. Vocational training at community colleges is key to keeping our workforce trained and globally competitive and should be able to compete vigorously with other more costly educational options. Competitive pay for teachers must remain a priority if we are to have a high-functioning educational system.
Our population boom in Wake County is creating serious challenges for commuters. As libertarians, we support market-based solutions like autonomous driving cars and non-traditional taxi services, and we encourage relaxing transit regulations. We also support public-private partnerships that work to make our transportation grid operate smoother, leaner, and smarter; however, we remain skeptical of mandatory participation in expensive state-mandated options (for example, light rail). We feel that individual communities should be able to decide what is right for local transportation needs.
We believe that the major factor driving healthcare costs higher is over-regulation which negatively affects the services patients receive. We support healthcare deregulation at the local level to encourage practitioners to pay more attention to the care their patients actually need, rather than wasting countless hours filling out government-required paperwork. We call on the General Assembly to stand up to special interests, for example, by allowing nurse practitioners a greater role in inpatient treatment.
We further propose ending North Carolina’s “Certificate of Need” laws which put government in charge of doctor’s standards of care and hinders the availability of beds to those with mental illness. We recognize that healthcare reform is a many-faceted undertaking, but we pledge to do everything we can at a local level to ease the regulatory burden and reduce costs.
Libertarians everywhere advocate keeping taxes low in order to maximize opportunities for economic growth. Taxation not only discourages individual work, savings, and investment but also encourages government overreach by providing easy spending money for legislatures. Several states with reasonable budgeting manage to reduce sales taxes altogether. We remain skeptical of bond issuances (borrowing) that obligate future generations to finance today’s special interest programs.
Criminal Justice Reform
Many people are alarmed by the deterioration we see in our criminal justice system today. Constitutional rights such as due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and innocence until proven guilty should be absolute. But the War on Drugs — our generation’s Prohibition — has been a national disaster, and as such, we favor the repeal of laws that create crimes without victims such as the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Savings realized from reducing our prison population should be employed in training programs that give the incarcerated a fair chance at a more effective and lasting re-entry back into our local communities. We also favor a more flexible and locally controlled juvenile court and detention system and oppose North Carolina’s treatment of 17-year-olds as adults.
Individual Rights for the LGBTQ+ Community
We hold the entire LGBTQ+ community as full members and partners in all aspects of life in America and Wake County (a core position of the Libertarian Party since inception in 1971). Beyond that, we support giving local communities the power to enact rules which explicitly recognize individual rights for the people of any NC locality. Trying to curtail individual rights with a state-wide law is overreach which will accomplish nothing but economic disincentives for the state as a whole.
We all want to live in safe and prosperous communities and have the right to the peaceful and healthful enjoyment of our property. Polluters such as owners of coal ash pits and hog farms must be held responsible when they cause environmental harm and must not be allowed to unduly influence the drafting of the laws, ordinances, rules, and/or standards that apply to them. We oppose special interests influencing laws in a manner that might deprive victims of their rights to a clean and healthy environment.
We call for all state House and Senate district map lines to be re-drawn by independent non-partisan commissions. Gerrymandering by whichever party is in control of the legislature has a very negative effect on the integrity of our political and democratic processes. All votes — major party, minor party, and independent — must have equal weight.
The acts of registering to vote and voting must remain simple, easy, and valid. Part of the problem is that the current manipulation of the system by the Democratic and Republican parties excludes a third of all Wake County voters —“unaffiliated”— from participation on boards of election and effectively bans them from running for partisan office via prohibitive petition requirements, so that the interests of these voters are not well-represented. We also believe that county voters should retain a high degree of control over local county and school board electoral maps.
It is a core libertarian belief that a fair and competitive economy that is not overly regulated enables people to create new opportunities for themselves and allows businesses to grow. State and local governments should not play favorites by subsidizing particular industries or businesses with our tax dollars. A perfect example of over-regulation in our state is the ABC stores and other alcoholic beverage distribution regulations.
Additional examples include the state dictating how cars may be sold in North Carolina or protecting energy companies from competition, or when licensing laws hinder individuals from entering simple professions (such as barbering), or when restrictive zoning prevents people from creatively re-using downtown properties. All of these restrictions should be removed or greatly reduced. Governments should respect both property rights and the right of individuals to pursue innovative and competitive business opportunities to create a dynamic free market in the great state of North Carolina.
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Thanks for this post.
Much love from Ashley
I believe we’re better off with a Council-Manager city government. Most corporation have naturally developed into this system through trial and error and there’s a growing opinion that they let elected officials deal with politics while allowing them to hire someone to run a city based on their ability to run a city rather than political views. Electing the council through a Proportional Representation system like the Single Transferable Vote would allow more of the people of the city to have a say, not just the biggest party.
Zoning in Raleigh and Wake County isn’t unique or particularly different compared to other cities in America (or even the Americas) but it is unique when compared to that of other OECD countries. There, zoning has been relatively lax and focused on mixed-use development where here the ideas of modernism and top-down urban planning were much more widespread. In Raleigh this has meant increasing rent, a decreasing market for affordable housing, more sprawl, and fewer businesses.
I’m sure building regulations have their place but I worry overzealous rules do more to harm the city then help it. Parking minimums, height restrictions and yard requirements etc increase sprawl and handicap the development of a city.
Public Infrastructure Spending
Far too often cities will invest into various projects with little account for the long term costs. Every increase in development also means an increase in overhead. Maintenance and eventual replacement are supposed to be paid for by the increase in tax revenue from each individual project but with them are also the risk that they aren’t. Many cities are realizing that they overbuilt roads to connect places that didn’t increase with wealth generation because of them and even sometimes had newer roads built to make up for that. When this happens, public spending isn’t an investment; it’s a ponzi scheme.
Excise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol incentivizes people to not smoke and to not drink. What then does the property tax do? They deter development and economic growth, increase sprawl, and have been shown to be regressive. The solution is to ditch it and replace it with a Land Value Tax. Don’t tax people based on how they developed their land, but on how much their land is worth developing. This system is used in many other countries, US counties and cities, and was advocate by Milton Friedman as “the least bad tax.”
Sprawl is the antithesis to cities. It assist crime, illness, higher prices, traffic congestion, a smaller economy, a higher cost of living, and higher taxes. It isn’t simply less dense housing though; Tokyo and Amsterdam has plenty of suburbs without these problems. It’s a massive car-dependent form of development that requires massive public resources in the form of roads, pipelines, subsidies, school and police services etc while generating very little tax revenue. Some people may think any action against sprawl is against the consensus of the free market. This simply isn’t true. Sprawl was created by government and maintained through bad government policies. It’s time to end this.