Commentary

As budget shortfall grows, legislative leaders try to spin their way out of it

Paul Stam 2

Rep. Paul Stam

Faced with the hard reality of a growing state budget shortfall resulting from their ill-advised tax giveaways to wealthy individuals and profitable corporations, state legislative leaders have apparently opted to try to spin their way out of the mess.

House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam was the latest to try out a little song and dance step on the issue yesterday when he issued a statement claiming that there is no shortfall because “After controlling for population and inflation, we are likely to have just as much revenue in 2014-15 as we did in 2013-14.”

This is classic political double-speak.

The fact of the matter is that a budget shortfall exists when the state does not bring in enough money in a new year to pay for the level of services it provided in the previous year. It’s not about “growing government” as Stam alleges; it’s about sustaining the services we have — i.e. not raising class sizes, not cutting health care reimbursements for the disabled, not further decimating our broken courts system, etc….

Right now, it’s clear that the 2013 tax cuts have led directly to a situation in which the state will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars less than it needs just to keep things going at their already inadequate levels in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. Indeed, as a percentage of total state income, state spending during the current year is already at 1970’s levels.

The bottom line: Try as Stam and his allies might to lower the bar with talk of red herrings like inflation and population growth, they simply won’t be able to spin their way out of this situation. And absent some kind of dramatic ideological turnaround that would lead to the implementation of the kind of policy changes that would produce a truly responsible state budget, North Carolinians will soon suffer the consequences of this latest ill-conceived and destructive experiment in trickledown economics.

6 Comments


  1. love my state

    February 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

    republicans will never ever understand that trickle down economics does not work. it never has, and it never will.

  2. ML

    February 20, 2015 at 11:06 am

    It’s called being in denial. They’ll say anything to not admit their whole economic ideology is wrong. Similar to putting scientific facts in front of religious nuts.

  3. Alan

    February 20, 2015 at 11:32 am

    And we ALL suffer the consequences of this, including those who voted to elect Republicans, even those who post here (daily) in full defense of the state GOP will be impacted by the inevitable corrections that will be needed to address this. Will the GOP ever learn that tax cuts don’t increase revenue?

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    February 20, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Stam is actually right. All the hopes and dreams of the confiscation forecasts cannot change reality. It is good that these points are being put out there in contrast to all the hysteria about a 1% or less shortfall on a $20 BILLION dollar budget. That is just a drop in the bucket, heck the dumpocrats used to spend that much in kickbacks and bribes by Jim Black.

  5. Uask4it

    February 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Rather than nibbling around the edges, the GOP needs to enact all the spending cuts needed to bring the budget back into balance. Only in that way can their supporters actually see for what they have voted. They may not like all they see.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    February 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    We on the right would actually like it a lot more than we think. But good try, we asked for it and will like it.

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