NC Budget and Tax Center

Foregone opportunity to boost investment in North Carolina’s future

At a time when we should be boosting investments to ensure that the Tar Heel state can compete for good-paying jobs in an increasingly knowledge-based economy, our legislative leaders have taken a different path. Our prized public 4-year university system serves as an example.

Since 2008, state funding on a per student basis within the UNC System has been cut by nearly 16 percent when adjusted for inflation. Managing these funding cuts have meant reducing course offerings, which can prolong the time it takes students to graduate; reducing academic- and student-support services; and steady tuition hikes. For the 2014 academic year, the average tuition and fees cost with the university system is around $6,100, up from around $4,400 in 2008 – an increase of nearly 40 percent.


This is the context that our state leaders chose to pass a tax plan that significantly reduces revenue available for important investments such as our public university system. The tax plan reduces revenue by more than $525 million over the next two years.

These dollars could have been used to:

  • Eliminate mandatory university-wide budget reductions for FY15
  • Double state funding for UNC need-based financial aid for FY15
  • Double funding for cancer research and other major research initiatives for FY15
  • Triple state funding for faculty recruitment and retention for FY15
  • Triple state matching funding for federal work study program for FY15

A skilled and educated workforce that can compete for good-paying jobs is not an option, but a necessity, if North Carolina is to become more competitive and meet the demands of a 21st century economy. An increasing number of jobs in the state are expected to require some level of postsecondary training and states with higher levels of educational attainment in their workforce are found to have greater levels of productivity.

The tax plan takes us further down a dangerous path that means missed opportunities to invest in our public university system, one of the public institutions that make our state great. For this reason we all lose under the tax plan.


  1. Frances Jenkins

    January 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Nearly 70% of students in North Carolina are not on grade level for reading. DPI has no clue how to address this problem.

    After listening to our state leader in education, I am positive she is less able than what I thought.

    I expected her to answer the numbers questions. Has she ever heard of preparation for a hearing?

    We can not continue to invest money at something that is not working.

  2. Alan

    January 28, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    “We can not continue to invest money at something that is not working”, sounds a lot like the “Medicare is broken” argument, when it isn’t. What do you suggest? Private, for profit, preferably “Christian” schooling? I’m sure some “free-enterprise” competition would drastically improve the educational outcomes in the state. But I think we both know it has NOTHING to do with outcomes, it’s all about someone making a profit, and profit before all else. Very transparent indeed….

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    January 29, 2014 at 8:03 am

    This is only part of the problem. With the emerging bubble of college costs something will have to give. Higher education costs are neck and neck with healthcare costs when you look at increases over inflation. Ever since the government has gotten heavily involved with these industries we have seen seen significant price increases.

  4. Alan

    January 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    LSD, “Ever since the government has gotten heavily involved with these industries we have seen seen significant price increases”, according to who? The USA has the largest, non-government, for-profit “healthcare” system in the world. One where we spend 2X our European counterparts and have worse outcomes, and those European countries all have some form of universal healthcare access WITH government involvement.

    Yet more anti-government nonsense from the extreme right.

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    January 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Alan, have you ever looked at charts and graphs of healthcare and college costs? Look back to the devastating 60’s when the welfare society began in earnest and you will see what I mean.

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