September 19, 2015

News and Observer: An NC budget that chooses decline over investment

media mention

It is too generous to call the new state budget a spending plan. It is a spending reaction. Leaders should have a plan, a goal. This is a budget drawn by ideologues who blinked.

Much of what is laid out in the $21.7 billion budget is determined by mandatory responses to growth in education and Medicaid costs. There’s also an “I’m sorry” restoration of the medical expense deduction for seniors, a removal that provoked a strong reaction from a constituency the GOP must win.

And there are “never mind” elements in the decision not to follow the state Senate’s call to eliminate funding for teacher assistants and driver’s education, proposals that provoked teachers and parents alike.

Meg Wiehe, state tax policy director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advocates tax fairness, says North Carolina is virtually alone in the nation in giving away the fruits of recovery.

“It’s very counter to what we’ve seen in other states where revenue has come back and states are making investments to make up for cuts during the recession,” Wiehe says.  Read more