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Follow the money: how the House pays for its budget

We didn’t borrow any money. We didn’t raise taxes. We spent what came in. – Rep. Brubaker, House floor debate on H.B. 950, the FY2012-13 continuation budget.

That would be true if Rep. Brubaker had added, “… and a bit more, besides,” to the end of his statement. Every year, state budget writers sum up on a single page how they raise the billions of dollars that fuel the state budget – the availability statement – while the rest of the state budget requires hundreds of pages of detail. For all its importance, the availability statement itself gets relatively less scrutiny and public debate than the rest of the budget. The Budget and Tax Center has analyzed the availability statement proposed within the House budget and found the following items to be noteworthy:

What’s clear from this availability statement is that House budget writers are relying heavily on resources that won’t be available in the long-term. This piecemeal approach to funding North Carolinians’ education, well-being, safety, and quality of life can’t be sustained. Revenue must be part of the solution.

UPDATE: House availability in the final budget would deposit $62 million in the state’s Repairs and Renovations Reserve Account, which is approximately 1/8 of the state’s FY2011-12 credit balance. Funds would not be withdrawn from either this account or the state’s Rainy Day account to increase General Fund availability in the FY2012-13.