NC Budget and Tax Center

Statement on the House tax bill from the Director of the Budget & Tax Center

Statement on the House tax bill from Alexandra Sirota, the Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center:

“In North Carolina, we have seen how this approach to tax cuts plays out. Some people end up paying more, and everyone loses from diminished investment in their community and an economy that fails to get a boost. Federal pursuit of yet another failed tax-cut experiment will make our state challenges even worse by shifting costs to our state and leading to cuts in services. Our federal delegation should step up in this process, urging careful debate of any tax plan and rejection of one that grows the deficit, gives massive tax breaks to the wealthy and forces cuts to programs that build a pathway to the middle class for millions of Americans.”

Click here for more information about the impact of the proposed federal tax changes. 

immigration, NC Budget and Tax Center

Three scary policy ideas that we are fighting this Halloween

This Halloween there are a lot of scary policy ideas out there that keep coming back from the dead.

Some policymakers at both the state and federal level have been so relentless in their pursuit of policies that will hurt people and communities across our state that they want to change the very rules that govern us.

We plan to match that zombie-like commitment to failed ideas with timely analysis, relentless mobilization, and alternatives that will work for our state. Because cutting off opportunity from people and erecting more barriers will take us further away from building a state where every community has the tools to deliver a high quality of life and every North Carolinian can connect to opportunity.

North Carolina needs policies that won’t set us on a path to a terrifying future. That is why this Halloween we are continuing to fight back with sound, timely analysis, and the mobilization of voters across North Carolina to show the terrifying future our policymakers seek to create is not the right way forward for our state.

Here are just three scary policy ideas that we are fighting this Halloween: Read more

NC Budget and Tax Center

Do our choices match our values, as a state and as a nation? A July 4 rumination

Our country was born 241 years ago, when our Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence. The story that we tell ourselves, of our birth and who we are as a country, has been a continuous thread since then – the story of the American Dream. We tell ourselves that, in our country, there is equal opportunity for everyone – no matter where they are born or who they are. We tell ourselves that we have long been a country that is welcoming to everyone. That we are many states united, where the fate of each person is intertwined with the fate of all of us – that we value loyalty, to our neighbors and to our country.

That’s the story we tell ourselves. But then there’s the reality of the choices we make, of how things are – and how things could be if our choices actually reflected our values as a country.

If we made choices as a state and as a country that were in line with the values of the American Dream, every worker would make a living wage and the discrimination that drives differences in wages for women and men, Blacks and whites would be addressed.  Black women wouldn’t have to work hard to make only 68 cents for every dollar that white men make. Read more

2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Standards and accountability lose as earmarks proliferate in budget deal

By a conservative count, there are over $32 million in earmarked special projects funded in the conference budget being debated this week. After years of railing against patronage and backroom deals, House and Senate leadership have suddenly become big fans of earmarking funds for legislator’s pet projects back home.

This list of projects is just the tip of the local need iceberg. After years of tax cuts and hemming in local governments’ ability to raise funds, there is a deep backlog of important local projects that deserve state support. While many of the earmarks address local priorities that have gone unfulfilled in recent years, this budget does little to address the structural deficit in our investment in local communities.

Earmarking funds for pet projects is no the way to do good policy. There was no public process that determined which projects address the more striking needs, which projects will have the largest social and economic impacts, and which projects have the broadest community support.

These earmarks also lack accountability. In well-administered programs, recipients of public funds are obligated to document that funds were used appropriately and actually achieved the intended goal. These types of accountability standards often help to refine programs over time, make it more likely that good stewards of public funds receive support in subsequent years, and provide an empirical basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the program. Unfortunately, many of the earmarks in this year’s budget lack even these most basic features of good governance.

— Budget & Tax Center Staff Report

2018 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Statement: This budget deal is not worthy of North Carolinians

Statement on the budget deal from Alexandra F. Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center:

The final budget that state lawmakers will vote on in the coming days reflects missed opportunities for North Carolina.  By pursuing more tax cuts even as states like Kansas have reversed course and abandoned their own failed tax-cut experiment, leaders of the NC General Assembly have chosen to stay the course and continue to do less for more North Carolinians.

The final state budget includes many of the worst ideas and budget decisions from the House and Senate proposed budgets — including cutting legal assistance for low-income residents, failure to provide needed additional funding for K-12 classroom teachers, and using increasingly uncertain federal dollars to meet ongoing state priorities.

North Carolina’s leaders should put forward a budget that truly reflects the priorities of our growing state, including healthy and safe communities, quality educational opportunities and skills training, thriving communities, and broadly shared economic prosperity. They should make a sustained commitment to rebuilding Eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew instead of offering just a fraction of what is needed. Instead, lawmakers have chosen to give even more benefits to the wealthy and profitable corporations. As state leaders continue to dig their heels in on their failed tax cut experiment, it is time for leaders across the state to emerge and demonstrate the harm of another budget that is not worthy of North Carolinians.