State Revenues Collapse: Why Has Cooper Not Cut Spending? | Beaufort County Now

The North Carolina Office of State Controller just released its latest General Fund monthly financial report for April. civitas, state revenues collapse, governor, roy cooper, cut spending, general fund, may 20, 2020
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State Revenues Collapse: Why Has Cooper Not Cut Spending?

Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.

    The North Carolina Office of State Controller just released its latest General Fund monthly financial report for April.

    The outlook, unsurprisingly, is grim.

  • For fiscal year 2020, when compared to the prior year through April 30, actual net tax and non-tax revenues decreased by $731.1 million, or 3.5%. Tax revenues through April 2020 decreased by $743.7 million, or 3.7%, and non-tax revenues increased by $12.6 million, or 1.5%.

    For the month of April specifically, tax revenue came in at $2.48 billion, down by more than $1.3 billion compared to April 2019, a drop off of 35 percent.

    This was expected, of course, because of Gov. Cooper's shutdown orders. But the reversal in tax revenue is nevertheless stunningly swift.

    At the end of March, year-to-date revenues were running more than $620 million ahead of last year's pace. Even with the onset of closings, this year's tax revenue for the month of March was essentially even with March 2019 revenue.

    In just one month, the state budget went from a massive surplus to a huge deficit.

    I've been warning for nearly two months that Gov. Cooper should be taking measures to reduce state spending obligations in anticipation of the dramatic drop in state revenue.

    But so far Cooper has done nothing to ease the state's spending obligations - and now state revenues have fallen off a cliff.

    Shame on him for being caught flat-footed for a state budget crisis that everybody saw coming.

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