The Truth About North Carolina's State Budget | Eastern North Carolina Now

North Carolina’s 2018 "short" legislative session will get into full swing later this spring – after the brief special sessions begun last week conclude

    Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in the state budget section of Civitas's online edition.

    North Carolina's 2018 "short" legislative session will get into full swing later this spring - after the brief special sessions begun last week conclude.

    The main point of business will be adjusting the second year of the two-year state budget plan approved in 2017. Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the budget proposal, calling it "short sighted and small minded." Cooper's main objections were that the budget didn't spend enough and it included tax cuts.

    We should expect similar disagreements this year as well. Big-government liberals will trot out their well-worn, predictable slogans like "government has been cut to the bone" and the state budget has been "slashed."

    When placed into context, however, such claims simply don't square with the reality of North Carolina's long-term budgetary trends.

    The chart below shows the trend lines for the state's inflation-adjusted General Fund budget, compared to population growth, for the past 35 years.

Sources for chart: North Carolina Legislative Fiscal Research Division, annual Post-Legislative summaries; North Carolina Office of State Budget & Management for population data; and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Economic data for price deflator (spending adjusted to 2009 dollars)

    As you can see, even after adjusting for inflation, North Carolina's state budget is now three times as large as it was in the early 1980s. But isn't that just a reflection of a rapidly growing state? No. Compare that growth rate to the state's population growth rate during that time of 73 percent.

    In short, inflation-adjusted spending has exploded at a rate nearly three times as fast as population since 1982.

    As a result, North Carolina's spending per person - even after adjusting for inflation - has ballooned by more than 70 percent. Put differently, North Carolina's state budget now spends $821 more for every man, woman and child than it did in in 1982 - not due to inflation but in real, inflation-adjusted terms. That comes to an increase of more than $3,200 for every family of four.

    Sure, state spending leveled off a bit after the great recession, but there is no denying the massive increment of state government spending over the last three and a half decades.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

National School Choice Week Takes on Added Significance in N.C. Civitas Institute, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Throttling Down Some on Costly Rulemaking


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro is testifying to Congress on Wednesday for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the alleged conspiracy to suppress conservative voices under the guise of “brand safety.”
that has caused the strife in this presidential campaign
Still to early to know all we need to know, but we now know much more than we did last Saturday
The existing School Board should vote to put this project on hold until new Board is seated


At least one person was shot and killed during an assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump on Saturday at a political rally in Pennsylvania in which the suspected gunman was also “neutralized,” according to the U.S. Secret Service.
As everyone now knows, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to grant presidents immunity for "official acts" has given Donald Trump unlimited power to do literally anything he wants with zero consequences whatsoever.
President Joe Biden formally rejected on Monday a bill in Congress that would require individuals to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in elections for federal office.
Watch and be sensitive to the events which will possibly unfold in the coming days.


Back to Top