Now that experts have had at least a few hours to begin to analyze the North Carolina Senate’s radical ALEC-inspired proposal to impose permanent, constitutional changes to North Carolina’s budget and tax structure, some remarkable findings are emerging. Consider the following from the numbers wonks at the Budget and Tax Center:
“If the spending formula had been in place beginning in 1992, when the only state, Colorado, to have such limits implemented it, North Carolina would have experienced massive and permanent annual losses of revenue and many of our most valued investments of the past two decades would have been impossible to make. For example:
- A top notch early childhood education program that reaches North Carolina’s kids in all 100 counties and the establishment of pre-Kindergarten programming.
- A water and sewer line system that serves rural communities and thousands of homes.
- A workforce training system and targeted economic development that supported rural communities and small towns as they addressed the decline in manufacturing
In fact, 15 percent of the public investments made since 1992 would not have been possible under the restrictive and flawed formula that allows only for population plus inflation growth, failing to take into account changing demographics such as a growing senior population or costs that increase faster than inflation like health care. In good times and bad times, North Carolina’s investments would have been arbitrarily constrained well below what would have been possible. This type of damage is why Colorado chose to suspend their spending formula.
The impact over the past twenty years would have been even worse in combination with the proposed constitutional cap on the income tax rate at 5 percent. Fewer dollars would have been available to pay for high quality schools, roads and bridges and community economic development to ensure the economy works for everyone in our state.”