Group potentially misleading public to advance agenda
Raleigh, N.C. – The recently formed and self-described "broad and diverse collection of non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations" calling itself Together NC is cherry-picking state spending data in an attempt to mislead lawmakers and North Carolinians that increased state spending “isn’t the problem” causing the current budget deficit.
The collection of special interest groups was formed in Raleigh to lobby legislators for a “balanced approach” to solve the state’s current budget deficit. In other words, they want to make sure any reductions in state spending are kept to a minimum and revenue increases are implemented to help fill the budget hole.
According to their "Get the Facts" page:
“Spending isn’t the problem. The reality is that spending per person is actually down from eight years ago. This is a fiscally conservative state, and we don’t go on spending sprees.”
“The ‘spending per person is actually down from eight years ago’ is an embarrassingly misleading use of data. Legislators and citizens should not be fooled,” said Brian Balfour, a policy analyst for the Civitas Institute. “Together NC cherry-picked this isolated outlier as some sort of ‘evidence’ that state spending is trending down in North Carolina, but the overwhelming amount of data indicates the opposite.”
A more complete summary of spending trends (as detailed here) reveals that overall spending trends are up dramatically:
Even after adjusting for inflation, per person budgeted spending in North Carolina is:
- Up 13.2 percent over 5 years
- Up 8 percent over 10 years
- Up 25.7 percent over 15 years
- Up 94 percent over 25 years
“Inflation-adjusted, per-person General Fund spending nearly doubled in the last 25 years, but according to Together NC, North Carolina doesn’t ‘go on spending sprees.’ Such claims are disingenuous and intended to blur reality,” said Balfour.
“Furthermore, North Carolina’s state debt more than doubledin just six years (2001-2007). Even Together NC would be hard pressed to honestly describe such a feat as ‘fiscally conservative.’ It is quite disappointing that Together NC would resort to such questionable tactics to garner attention for their agenda.”
If you would like more information regarding this topic or to schedule an interview with Brian Balfour, please contact Gabe Dellinger at 919.747.8065 or Gabe.Dellinger@nccivitas.org.