Nearly $3 Billion Now, Figure Would Grow Over Time
The “Moral Monday” protestors, led by the state chapter of the NAACP, have a list of demands that, if implemented, would cost North Carolina taxpayers nearly $3 billion dollars now. That figure would likely grow each year going forward as government programs expand. The $3 billion figure represents about 15 percent of the current state budget.
It’s very easy for NAACP head William Barber and his followers to make demands knowing that others would have to foot the bill, all under the guise of “morality.”
Last year, we exposed how the leaders of the Monday protests milked taxpayers for more than $100 million in recent years. Now we are showing how their demands would blow a hole in the state budget and require crushing taxes that would devastate the state’s economy.
The list of complaints presented by the Moral Monday crowd and the state NAACP are long, and most involve reaching into taxpayers’ wallets. For instance, a look at the state NAACP’s website shows a list of demands the group would like enacted. Their “14-Point People’s Agenda” actually includes 62 action items, most of which would cost “the people” of North Carolina more tax dollars.
In fact, that $3 billion estimate is based on a partial list of demands for which a cost estimate could readily be made.
|Demand||Cost to Taxpayers|
|Bring NC teachers average salary up to national average||$1.05 B in 1st yr.i|
|Repeal 2013 Tax Reform||$500 million in 1st year
($2.4 B over 5 years)ii
|Accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare||$3.1 B over ten yearsiii|
|Revoke Unemployment Insurance reform||$3.6 B over five yearsiv
($405 million in 2014)
|Fully fund all programs designed to aid at-risk, disadvantaged students||$142 million/yrv|
|Hire special leadership teams of 3-5 experts in each school found “in violation of the Constitution” to reengage young people and their parents in the educational process||$7.6 million/yrvi|
|Continue to increase the state earned income tax credit||$108 million/yrvii|
|Increase funding for worker training and education programs by 50%||$378 million/yrviii|
|Construct a monument Honoring African Americans on the grounds $400,000 of the state Capitol||$400,000ix|
|Double state appropriations for the state’s nonprofit, minority $5.5 million/yr community economic development “package”||$5.5 million/yrx|
|Double need-based financial aid for historically black $39 million/yr colleges and universities (HBCUs)||$39 million/yrxi|
|Appropriate $50 million to the N.C. Housing Trust Fund||$50 million|
Demands Would Cost Thousands of Jobs
There are dozens of other demands, many of which would cost both taxpayer dollars and jobs from the state’s economy. For instance, the NAACP calls for all state government contractors to pay their employees a “living wage,” which some have put at $19/hr for a family of four. This added labor expense would be passed on to taxpayers, and could likely reach millions annually.
They also call for an increase in the state minimum wage, an artificial wage increase that would have significant negative consequences on the state’s labor market for low-skilled workers. Recent research suggests a minimum wage increase in NC to $10.10 an hour could cost roughly 40,000 jobs.
A list of the other demands is available below.
Such a massive increase of state government expenditures would necessarily need to be financed by significant tax increases. The higher taxes would lead to job losses and economic stagnation – leading to more people straining government programs putting still more pressure on the state budget.
Clearly, the Monday protesters have not thought out the implications of their demands. Putting a price tag on even a partial listing of their demands shows that implementation of the “Moral Monday” crowd’s desires would create a crushing financial burden on North Carolinians. The result would be rising poverty, more joblessness and greater concentration of power in the hands of government.
Other Demands from the NCNAACP’s “14-Point People’s Agenda”
- Expand appropriations to the N.C. Home Protection Program
- Establish and adequately fund a single, unified state Department of Human Rights that is empowered to investigate, conciliate and adjudicate cases of alleged discrimination
- Establish a study commission to examine the mental and physical health care available for returning troops and their families in North Carolina and to make specific recommendations for programmatic changes that will assure the availability of essential services
- Appoint a Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Education
- Freeze university tuition rates
- Raise the state minimum wage and index it to inflation
- Expand Food Stamp outreach and eliminate asset limits for recipients
- Triple funding for the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and state HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs
- Establish a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission for North Carolina” modeled on previous efforts in Greensboro and South Africa
- Immigration Reform – admission into universities, minimize deportation
- Enact a comprehensive N.C. Civil Rights Act that is clear to employers and employees, landlords and tenants, property sellers and buyers, with effective disincentives for proven discrimination
- Expand early voting and same-day registration hours and locations and improve oversight of voting rights protections
- Expand public financing of statewide elections to additional offices
- Establish an HBCU Development Commission with staff and a long-term mandate to increase public and private funding for the HBCUs as well for need-based scholarships, higher faculty salaries, better recruitment programs and stronger curricula
- Increase and enhance HBCU academic programs to address the critical needs of minority and poor families, including high quality teacher education programs for teachers in low-wealth schools and cutting edge environmental science programs
- Increase funding for capital improvements, maintenance, and recruitment and develop more professional schools at HBCU.s
- Fund an independent study of the state’s historical record in contracting with and hiring racial minorities that will report its findings to the General Assembly and make specific recommendations for remedying past discrimination
- Establish special support centers at community colleges and HBCUs throughout the State to help minority-owned businesses and contractors take full advantage of new business opportunities
- Enact legislation that would pay $50,000 to each victim of forcible sterilization
($10 million for this was included in 2013 budget)
- Pass the Homeowner and Homebuyer Protection Act (passed August 2010)
- Pass legislation that would ban executions of persons with severe mental disabilities as a precursor to repealing the death penalty in its entirety
- Enact the reform recommendations of the N.C. Sentencing Commission
- Fund alternative sentencing programs
- Dramatically expand services to prisoners re-entering society
- Enact a moratorium on the construction of new prisons
- Raise the age for adult prosecution from age 16 to age 18
- Establish a joint NAACP/Department of Correction program
- Establish a state “Environmental Justice Youth Board” and fund youth employment in environmental protection
- Enact new policies to prohibit the concentration of pollution sources near low-income and minority communities
“Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget,” North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Feb. 2014, Pg. 6.
Total cost of $284 million now spent on category of “at-risk student services/alternative schools”. The NAACP does not define “fully fund” for this item, so we assume a 50% increase in expenditures on this – for an increase of expenditures of $142 million
[vi]According to the Leandro case, the five counties found to have their schools “in violation of the Constitution” are Hoke, Halifax, Robeson, Vance and Cumberland. There are a total of 165 schools in those districts. A minimum of three new “experts” in those schools would mean the addition of 495 new employees. Public school “instructional support” positions in NC have an average salary of $46,161, thus the cost of this would total $7.6 million per year – not even counting the cost of health and retirement benefits http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/fbs/resources/data/highlights/2014highlights.pdf (pg. 13)
[vii]The state EITC was eliminated in the 2013 tax reform. To reinstate it would cost $108 million. http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/05/28/rousing-a-sleeping-giant/
[viii] In FY 2011-12, NC’s General Fund expenditures on workforce training programs were $756 million (54% of $1.4 B). Increasing that by 50% would be $378 million more in spending per year.
“North Carolina Workforce Development Inventory,” Fiscal Research Division, Jan. 2012
[ix]Based upon costs of other monuments such as the veteran’s memorial monument in Raleigh ($535,000), the firefighter’s memorial in Raleigh ($500,000), and the alumni memorial at UNC Chapel Hill ($300,000), a conservative estimate says this memorial would cost at least $400,000.
[x]Presumably this is primarily referring to taxpayer funding for the Institute for Minority Economic Development, and The Support Center (formerly The Minority Support Center). Before having their recurring support zeroed out, these two groups combined to receive roughly $5.5 million in FY 2012-13.
[xi]Total state appropriation for needs-based financial aid for NC HBCU’s in 2010-11 was $39 million. Source: Southern Regional Education Board
http://www.sreb.org/page/1126/srebstate_data_exchange.html#Public funding for higher education