Supported by 2:1 Margin Over Pay Cuts
Raleigh, N.C. – With General Assembly budget writers mired in the difficult choices over how to craft a balanced budget for the state, a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute shows that voters prefer the General Assembly eliminate positions rather than issue across-the-board pay cuts for state employees and teachers.
According to the live caller poll of 600 voters, when asked how to close the state’s budget deficit, 50 percent of voters said make permanent cuts to the state’s workforce. Twenty-six percent said pay cuts for state employees and teachers. Twenty-four percent were not sure.
“Given the state’s financial situation, reducing the size of the government’s workforce is not only a logical solution, it is preferred by the voters as well,” said Francis De Luca, Civitas Institute executive director. “Voters recognize that government can operate more efficiently and would prefer to see positions eliminated rather than all employees suffering pay cuts.”
A recent release by Civitas Institute Fiscal Policy Analyst Brian Balfour highlighted the inevitability of workforce reductions.
- According to the annual Fiscal Research salary survey, budgeted base salary and benefits of state employees totaled more than $13 billion (as of Dec. 2008) – not including any state appropriations for the State Health Plan.
- A revenue projection of $17.5 billion for fiscal 2009-10 leaves a difference of only $4.5 billion with which to finance non-payroll items (not counting federal stimulus funds and the use of various state trust funds).
- By comparison, the salary survey indicated budgeted base salary and benefits in Dec. 2007 as $12.5 billion. The fiscal 2007-08 state budget totaled $20.7 billion, leaving a difference of $8.2 billion with which to fund non-payroll items.
“With tax revenues coming in $4 billion less than last year, there is no way the state can sustain a $13 billion payroll,” added De Luca.
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more polling information on Civitas polling see www.nccivitas.org/media/poll-results/.
Full text of questions:
In order to close the state’s budget deficit, would you rather see elected officials cut the pay of all state employees and teachers or make permanent cuts to the state’s workforce?
Pay cuts for employees and teachers – 26%
Permanent cuts of state workforce – 50%
Not sure – 24%
The study of 600 registered voters was conducted May 18-21, 2009 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.