State and local governments across North Carolina have accumulated $85 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That's equivalent to more than $9,200 for every man, woman, and child across the state - or approximately $36,800 for a family of four. To better inform citizens about the fiscal condition of North Carolina's state and local governments, the Civitas Institute has tallied this comprehensive collection of true debt. The total debt burden, as of June 30, 2008, comes to $85 billion.
In a recent USA Today article summarizing how states balanced their budgets this summer, Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union Pete Sepp declared, "With a few exceptions, states have been able to avoid the doomsday projections that big tax hikes were on the way." Unfortunately, North Carolina was one of those “exceptions.”
Legislature’s Appetite for Pork Leaves Residents with $1 Billion Tax Increase A total of $1.64 billion of non-essential new spending was introduced by North Carolina budget writers during the economic boom years of 2004-05 to 2007-08, according to recent research by the Civitas Institute. This boon in non-essential spending helps explain why state lawmakers felt [...]
A total of $1.64 billion of non-essential new spending was introduced by North Carolina budget writers during the economic boom years of FY 2004-05 to FY 2007-08. Like the irresponsible guy who blows his unexpected bonus buying drinks for everyone at the bar, state lawmakers decided to be overly generous with the avalanche of tax revenue being raked in during those prosperous four years.
The nanny-staters are at it again with HB 1384 - Shopping Carts/Prevent Exposure to Germs. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Earl Jones (D – Guilford), would “encourage” retail outlets that offer customers shopping carts to make free sanitation wipes available near the store entrance.
The FY 2009-10 North Carolina $20.7 billion state budget (S.L. 2009-451) includes one of the largest tax increases in state history while increasing actual spending by $400 milloin over last year. Rather than seize on a golden opportunity to implement meaningful spending reform, state lawmakers instead used a massive $1.1 billion in new taxes to preserve the status quo.
General Government’s FY 2009-10 budgeted expenditures is less than last year’s estimated actual spending. This year’s spending, however, still does mark a 27 percent increase in five years. The agency did not receive any federal funding to help supplement its appropriations for FY 2009-10.
NER’s total budget for FY 2009-10 marks a year-over-year decrease of 15% from last year’s actual estimated spending. Buttressed by federal funds of $15 million this year, however, NER’s budget has still climbed 32% in the last five years. And in spite of being in the middle of what we are told is a “budget crisis,” the NER budget allocates over $100 million in questionable items (see below).
House Speaker Joe Hackney (D – Orange),commenting on the FY 2009-10 budget declared “There is no pork in this budget.” North Carolina’s budget will spend $20.68 billion dollars (including federal funds), so declaring “no pork” is quite a bold statement. While higher taxes will inevitably lead to lost jobs, a closer look at the final state budget reveals that the state continues to waste millions of taxpayer dollars for animals, plants, public television, walking trails, tourist attractions and corporate welfare.
The FY 2009-10 North Carolina $20.7 billion state budget plan (SB 202) soon to be voted on by the House and Senate will cost thousands of North Carolina jobs and disproportionately hurt the state’s working poor. Rather than seize on a golden opportunity to implement meaningful spending reform, state lawmakers have instead chosen to impose one of the highest tax increases in state history on an already struggling North Carolina economy.
Throughout the ongoing state budget negotiations in Raleigh, lawmakers have frequently cited that North Carolina is in the midst of a massive “budget crisis” – perhaps the worst this state has seen since the Great Depression. Behind the political rhetoric about “draconian cuts” to spending and claims of severe belt-tightening, however, is a list of more than $650 million in earmark spending requests – many of which will leave observers scratching their heads.
The purpose of HB 1128 is to “provide one full-time healthful living coordinator in the central office of each local school administrative unit.” What would the newly invented position of “healthful living coordinator” entail? According to the bill’s language, “The healthful living coordinator shall design, support, implement, manage, and evaluate a district-wide coordinated school health program that will address childhood obesity prevention and other health related issues.”
Due to this year’s substantial budget deficit, North Carolina House and Senate earmark requests are down from recent years, but many of the proposed uses of taxpayer money during a budget “crisis” may still surprise you. In recent years, much attention and scrutiny has been placed on the use of “earmarks” in the Federal budget. ”
Albert Einstein once famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In that context, what results are North Carolina’s General Assembly expecting with their $1 billion tax increase?
Did you see the major theatrical presentation put on by state leaders in Raleigh over the last several weeks? The script was brilliantly followed, but the plot was a bit predictable.