NC Budget and Tax Center, Uncategorized

An efficient, safe, and convenient transportation system is integral to the health of North Carolina’s economy and North Carolinians’ quality of life. The state’s vast transportation system is struggling to serve this need because it faces serious challenges. The system is under considerable pressure due to aging infrastructure, increasing congestion, and strained revenue sources that are failing to keep pace with rising construction and maintenance costs.

Despite these problems, Governor Perdue’s FY2012-13 budget proposal places a cap on North Carolina’s gas tax, which is currently 38.9 cents per gallon and accounts for more than half of state revenues dedicated for transportation projects. The legislature is poised to follow suit. The Budget and Tax Center released a report earlier today on the pitfalls of capping the gas tax. Read More


There’s been much ado in recent months about North Carolina’s “record high” gas tax levels, but that claim is missing some important historical and economic context.  After adjusting for inflation, North Carolina’s gas tax is actually quite low by historical standards (see chart below).  In fact, it’s only in comparison to a brief period of low gas taxes in the early 1980s that the state’s current gas tax rates appear abnormally high.














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There aren’t many in North Carolina who would argue that the state suffers from too little congestion, too few potholes, not enough crumbling bridges, or too many construction jobs.

More than 5,000 of the state’s 13,000 bridges (almost 4 in 10) are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently down-graded North Carolina’s roads from D to D-, and also estimates that poor road conditions cost North Carolina motorists $1.7 billion annually in additional repairs and operating costs.  At the same time, unemployment in the construction industry continues to remain above 13 percent.

Thus, it’s strange that recent statements by some North Carolina lawmakers suggest they may take up a measure after Thanksgiving that would reduce funding for vital transportation projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving the condition of the state’s roadways and bridges.

The measure in question is a seemingly perennial (and typically bipartisan) effort to cap the  state’s gas tax, a revenue source that accounts for more than half of state revenues dedicated for transportation projects.  Despite the impact a gas tax cap could have on transportation revenues, there’s been little discussion of replacing any lost revenue from capping the gas tax. Read More


Seats.jpg(Cross-posted from the Action NC blog)

I have decided that it’s time to replace my car. It’s a clunker, to say the least. With more than a decade on the road and well over the 100,000 miles on the odometer, the old girl is just starting to fail.  My car has become so unreliable, in fact, that I thought it might be a good idea to figure out how I would get to work if one morning my car just decided not to start.

Every wonder how you would get to work if you didn’t have a car? The short answer is Read More


Raleigh residents vote tomorrow, October 11, on bonds for affordable housing and transportation. At a time when Raleigh residents continue to pay higher rent prices amidst dwindling incomes, seniors find it more and more difficult to stay in safe homes, and the state faces a deteriorating infrastructure problem, voters have an opportunity to support programs that lead to better long-term economic growth. Moreover, record-low interest rates and high unemployment make now an especially cost-effective time to borrow and invest in the city of Raleigh. Read More