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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

Falling Behind in NC, NC Budget and Tax Center

Thanks in large part to the rebound in the personal income tax, North Carolina is finally experiencing a slight uptick in revenues as the tepid economy slowly improves. Yet, at the first sign of revenues recovering, state lawmakers are pursuing tax policies that will pull back investments prematurely. North Carolina is already in a hole, and the tax plans being debated would make it very difficult for the state to dig itself out, make progress on unmet needs, and move forward.

These tax plans cut taxes for the wealthy and profitable businesses at the expense of everyone else. Proponents claim that these deep and lopsided cuts will create jobs and benefit everyone, but research simply does not support this conclusion. Read More

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From his inaugural State of the State speech to interviews just a few weeks ago, NC Governor Pat McCrory has repeatedly proclaimed the critical importance of any tax reform in North Carolina being “revenue neutral.”  Indeed, in the State of the State speech he emphasized the need to protect NC’s vital services – like health care – in any reform.  McCrory is now presented with tax reform plans from the NC House and Senate that far from being “revenue neutral” cut literally billions of dollars from NC’s state budget over the next few years.  How will he react to this challenge to one of his bedrock principles on tax reform?

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NC Budget and Tax Center

The revised revenue forecast released today demonstrates how important the income tax is to our state’s ability to make investments that boost our economy. As legislators begin building the next state budget, they should protect the income tax, not scale it back or eliminate it as some have proposed.

The revenue forecast indicates that tax collections since the beginning of 2013 are on target to pay for critical services included in the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget, thanks to the revenue generated by the personal income tax. The personal income tax has been the most consistent source of revenue to pay for education, transportation, and public safety in North Carolina, and recovered quickly after the Great Recession, according to the report released today by the non-partisan Fiscal Research Division.

Sales taxes have not rebounded nearly as well because consumer demand continues to be weighed down by economic concerns, including the state’s high unemployment rate. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina legislators are in the months-long process of developing the two-year state budget that covers July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015. In light of the state’s murky economic outlook, it is important for legislators to consider the major drivers that will impact General Fund availability. There are many pressure points in the state but the biggest 5 include the following:

  1. Schoolchildren. As the single largest appropriations-supported category in the state budget, the needs of K-12 public schools are the most significant driver of the state budget. The K-12 budget has suffered through massive cuts over the last several years, and state investment in public education as a share of North Carolina’s economy is lower than before the Great Recession. This comes at a time of increasing demand: from school year 2008 to 2012, the student population grew by nearly 20,000, or 1.5 percent. The growing number of children enrolled in public schools only places additional budget pressure on an already stressed educational system. Read More