Authorizing additional unapproved state debt this year will be not only fiscally irresponsible, but widely unpopular
Public Demands a Vote of New State Debt
- An overwhelming 77 percent of voters believe that the North Carolina General Assembly should not be allowed to borrow money without voter approval.1
North Carolina’s Debt-Financed Capital Spending Spree Needs a Break
- More than $4.1 billion in debt has been authorized since 2000 for UNC capital projects.2
- For sake of comparison, with $4.1 billion the State could have paid the salary and benefits of roughly 7,000 school teachers for an entire decade.
- Adding in Repair & Renovation expenses along with annual capital improvement appropriations, the state has authorized roughly $8 billion since 2000 for state building construction and maintenance.
Government-Financed Construction Projects do not “Stimulate” Job Growth
- Former Governor Mike Easley “fast-tracked” nearly $750 million in state government capital improvement projects back in January 2009. Easley promised that the state’s “stimulus package will help keep North Carolinians on the job.” A press release from the Governor’s office at the time boldly predicted that “these projects will produce nearly 26,000 new jobs.”3
- North Carolina has in fact lost more than 38,000 construction jobs since January of 2009. This job loss represents a contraction of 18 percent of North Carolina’s construction industry.4
State Debt Rapidly Climbing, Threatens State Bond Rating
- Per capita state debt has more than doubled since 2000.
- In the 2010 Debt Affordability Study, the State Treasurer concluded that North Carolina has “substantially exhausted” its General Fund-supported debt limits until fiscal year 2012.
- The study further recommended using voter-approved debt as the “preferred method to provide debt financing for its capital needs” if it wishes to maintain its current bond rating.
- May 2008 Civitas Institute Poll. Available at: http://www.nccivitas.org/media/poll-results/may-2008-decisionmaker-poll
- 2 Fiscal Research Division, North Carolina General Assembly. Annual “Highlights, Fiscal and Budgetary Actions,” report capital sections. Available at: http://www.ncleg.net/fiscalresearch/highlights/highlights.shtml
- “Council of state approves Gov. Easley’s capital improvement projects,” WBTV, Jan. 2009 http://www.wbtv.com/global/story.asp?s=9624199
- Current Employment Statistics; North Carolina Employment Security Commission, Labor Market Information Division. Available at: http://esesc23.esc.state.nc.us/d4/CesSelection.aspx