A few findings of note:
- Revenue collections so far this fiscal year are on target. However, most of the uncertainty of the revenue projections falls in the last half of the fiscal year (the state’s fiscal year runs from June 1 to July 31).
- Perhaps it is this remaining uncertainty that inspired the filing of Senate Bill 13 which would authorize the Governor to hold back $400 million from the current year’s budget
- State spending items growing at the fastest rate over the last decade are Debt Service (200% increase) and Medicaid (95% increase)
- During that time, the Medicaid caseload grew by 62.6%
The report also touches on the amount the state spends on employee compensation and benefits. General Fund supported payroll exceeds $11 billion annually – and that number does not include extra salary expenditures like premium pay for overtime. Adding in almost $2 billion more for state contributions to the pension system and FICA taxes brings the total to about $13 billion. Moreover, the taxpayers’ bill for fully subsidizing state employees and retirees enrollment onto the State Health Plan comes to about $1.6 billion annually (according to Fiscal Research estimates).
All told, paying for state workers and retirees costs taxpayers roughly $14.6 billion. In the context of an $18.96 billion budget, that comes to 77 cents out of every taxpayer dollar in the General Fund that is dedicated to supporting state workers and retirees.
On a related note, from 2001 to 2009, North Carolina added nearly 35,000 state government workers to its payroll. Moreover, the state faces an unfunded liability of $33 billion for state retiree health benefits – a number up by 38% in just four years and will continue to grow as long as state lawmaker continue to neglect any proactive measures.