The Senate is set to release this afternoon its proposed budget for how it envisions funding public investments over the next two fiscal years.
More tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations will likely be included in the Senate’s budget. The Senate has already put forth a tax plan that will cost $323 million for the upcoming fiscal year 2018, with the annual cost growing to $840 million within five years. The damage of the tax cuts is clear – state officials estimate that the Senate’s tax plan would create a $600 million budget hole within three years.
These choices stand in stark contrast to the priorities of North Carolinians. Take the issue of class size: Parents, teachers and students all want smaller class sizes, but adequate funding is needed to make that happen because state commitments to the classroom continue to fall short in nearly every area. State lawmakers mandated class size reductions in K-3 classrooms but failed to provide the $338 million needed to meet this requirement. To be clear, North Carolina currently has the funds to ensure that students in lower grades are not in overcrowded classrooms. But the Senate is pushing for more income tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations that will cost $323 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Without these costly tax cuts, North Carolina would have resources to fund the cost of reducing class sizing in our public schools.
The state budget is a reflection of our priorities and values as a state – we invest in things we actually care about and that we know generate positive outcomes for us all in the form of a stronger economy and increased well-being. The Senate’s priorities are not aligned with a vision for our state that delivers shared prosperity and opportunity to all. Let’s hope they get on track.