2019 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Governor Cooper proposes budget within confines of current tax code

Governor Cooper released a proposed budget for the next two years, but long-term structural challenges in funding services and programs will continue to plague North Carolina due to tax cuts that have primarily benefited the wealthy and big corporations.

Indeed, Governor Cooper’s boldest investments in education and health are made possible through bond financing, tapping heretofore untapped federal funding streams and enacting provider assessments to meet the state match for Medicaid expansion.

Given the political realities that remain on Jones Street, the Governor’s budget makes no changes to the state tax code, which is upside-down and inadequate to meet the needs of a growing state.

In many areas, priorities identified in communities and by North Carolinians will continue to go unmet.  This budget proposal makes clear the damage of cutting taxes for the wealthy and profitable corporations to our communities.

Let’s hope members of the General Assembly embrace the fiscally responsible approach to our state’s health care crisis and recognize that a similarly sustainable and fiscally responsible approach to supporting all aspects of the lives of North Carolinians is needed and must include raising revenue.

Here are four points that provide a review of the Governor’s budget proposal.

  1. State spending as a share of the economy will continue below the 45-year average.

The proposed budget for the next two years holds spending at historically and arbitrarily low levels as a share of the economy.  The first fiscal year of the two-year budget would invest at 5.04 percent of state personal income, while the second fiscal year appropriates state dollars at 4.98 percent of state personal income. A base level of public programs and services can support the growth and health of an economy, support family and community well-being, and ensure children have a path to greater opportunity. Arbitrarily low levels of spending as a share of the economy that don’t reflect community needs undermine that role for public investments. Read more