Blueprint for a grim future

Waiting lists have grown for services for seniors and young children. Classrooms are getting more crowded. Court rooms are backlogged. That’s the reality in North Carolina since we don’t have nearly enough resources to meet our basic needs. And things could get much worse if lawmakers push through tax breaks that would mostly benefit the wealthy and limit state spending in a way that ignores how North Carolina is changing.

In a series of blog posts last week, my colleague Tazra Mitchell  pointed out how  our current tax system is failing to meet the changing needs of North Carolinians and our economy.  The problem will get  even worse  if the tax plans the Legislature is considering  go into effect, since they would  significantly reduce already inadequate resources for schools, health care and other things we rely on in our homes, businesses and communities every day.

The state is at historic lows in spending  as a share of  personal income (the best way to compare spending over time).  When funding for education, public safety and other vital services  can’t keep up with a changing and growing economy, tax systems fall short of their main  purpose. A sound  tax system must grow to be able to meet our needs  over time.  Slashing taxes and holding spending  to an arbitrary rate would be a giant step backward.  

As Tazra detailed  last week:

While proponents like to refer to these policies as tax “reform,” implying they are improvements, nothing could be further from the truth. In the current debate, meeting the needs of North Carolina students, working families and seniors has taken a back seat to an agenda of tax cuts and spending constraints that will harm the state’s economy and its people.

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