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NC Budget and Tax Center

Earlier today, the North Carolina Senate gave final approval to the 2013-15 fiscal year budget. The House chamber is poised to follow suit later this afternoon. Throughout the budget debate, legislators have spent a considerable amount of time providing an overview of the final budget but continue to skip over how they pay for the proposal. This practice is not uncommon. How the state raises the billions of dollars that fuel the state budget gets relatively little scrutiny compared to the rest of the budget during the budget process.

But because the final budget includes tax cuts that will primarily benefit the rich while significantly reducing resources to pay for vital services, examining how the state will make up for $683.8 million in tax cuts over the next two years and $2.8 billion over the next five years it is more important than ever.*

Here’s what you need to know regarding how legislative leaders chose to pay for the final budget: Read More

Falling Behind in NC, NC Budget and Tax Center

This is the fourth post of a week-long blog series that seeks to uncover just how far behind North Carolina’s current services levels are compared to pre-recession levels as well as how far behind the state would fall if the House and Senate tax plans were implemented. Previous posts are available here, here, and here.

North Carolina’s revenues are slowly recovering but still deeply damaged by the recession. Regaining the ground that we have lost will be more difficult in the coming years because state lawmakers are pursing deep and lopsided tax cuts that will put at risk the critical public services that help build the engines of long-term economic growth.

There is much ground to be regained in North Carolina’s public education system, which prepares our children for the jobs of the future and participation in civic engagement.

North Carolina is investing less in public education than when the recession began. Total state funding declined by 10 percent since the 2008 fiscal year while enrollment increased by 2 percent—a modest but steady rate. This means that there are $883.1 million fewer dollars (adjusted for inflation) in state funds available today for education compared to 2008 despite having 31,000 more students to educate. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

The author of this post is Jelicia Diggs, an intern with the NC Budget and Tax Center

Comprehensive immigration reform will result in revenue gain for states, according to an economic and a fiscal analysis prepared by the Congressional Budget Office on the Senate Immigration reform measure last week. CBO projects that this bill will increase the labor force and expand the American economy by increasing the number of non-citizens allowed to lawfully enter the United States on both temporary and permanent bases.

Immigrants play an essential role in sustaining the economy of North Carolina, and currently comprise nearly 10 percent of the state’s work force. With the adoption of this bill, North Carolina, along with the rest of the U.S., will see economic gains. These gains will outweigh the costs anticipated from the expanded eligibility for public services. Read More

Falling Behind in NC, NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina’s revenues are slowly recovering but still deeply damaged by the recession. Regaining the ground that we have lost will be more difficult in the coming years because state lawmakers are pursing deep and lopsided tax cuts that will put at risk the critical public services that help build the engines of long-term economic growth.

It is unquestionable that there is a lot of ground to be regained—especially when it comes to investing adequately in the health, safety, education, and economic security of families and children. The current state budget for health and human services (HHS) is proof. Read More

Falling Behind in NC, NC Budget and Tax Center

For more than a century, North Carolinians have pooled their resources to invest in great achievements, including a statewide K-12 system, the oldest public university system in the country, transportation infrastructure and a lot more. Taxes matter for the economy and society that we all enjoy so how the state government raises the billions of dollars that fuel the state budget is very important.

And, the ability of the state tax system to grow with the economy and keep up with the cost of public services and the changing needs of the population is critical. Yet, this continues to be a missing part of the debate over the impact of tax plans under consideration

Senate and House leadership say that their plans merely slow the rate of state spending to around 3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, compared to the long-run average of 4.8 percent. A 1.5 percentage point drop and a .3 percentage point drop in the revenue growth rate sound innocuous at first glance, but further analysis shows just how devastating this would be. Read More