Under the Dome

Jeb Bush set for Raleigh visit on Friday

Jeb Bush, whose once high-flying presidential campaign is more grounded these days, is expected in Raleigh later this week.

Bush, the former Florida governor, is set for a luncheon at the Raleigh home of Jim Cain, a former ambassador to Denmark under President George W. Bush. The event has price tiers from $1,000 per person to $2,700 per person, with bundlers receiving perks for raising $10,000 to $25,000.

The latest N.C. poll placed Bush in the mid-tier of this year’s Republican presidential field, behind businessman Donald Trump, retired surgeon Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Notably, the poll by left-leaning Public Policy Polling reported that Bush would trail Democrat Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head contest. He had led among N.C. voters surveyed in an earlier poll.

Evaluating programs

After producing or arranging for presentations last month on possible problems with the state’s supplemental insurance management and how lawmakers are compensated for their time, the legislature’s internal watchdog is carrying on with its 2015-17 work plan and has another three studies in the hopper.

Underway at the Program Evaluation Division:

▪ Effectiveness of Economic Development Tiers. Due out in December, it’s a look at alternatives to the current tier system, which ranks counties based on their economic well-being – a factor in their eligibility for certain programs or funding aid. The study, according to a summary, will consider boundaries other than county lines in mapping impoverished or wealthy regions, as some otherwise affluent counties – like Moore, home to Pinehurst – also bear pockets of financial hardship.

▪ Performance of Privatized State Government Functions. The goal is understanding whether they’ve saved the state money and improved efficiency, according to the work plan. A presentation date is pending.

▪ Board of Review. PED staffers are working on a cost-benefit analysis of the Board of Review, an independent three-member body meant to shape appeals policies and procedures and hear appeals related to decisions and determinations of the Division of Employment Security. The project involves examinations of other states and surveying stakeholders in North Carolina. A presentation date is pending.

The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee approved the biennial work plan in May.

Future projects on the list include a look at funding formulas for K-12 public schools and the feasibility of student-based budgeting.

“Under the student-based budgeting model, dollars follow students to their public school based on student needs,” says the work plan. “Allocations are determined using weighted, objective, and measurable facts about each student.”

PED also plans to review inmate health care management, the state’s ferry division and the “the efficiency of management layers and span of control for state agency executive offices.”

PED reports are commonly the basis for legislative changes.

J. Andrew Curliss and Benjamin Brown

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