North Carolina Receives Good Fiscal Health Grade | Eastern North Carolina Now | Bolstering the Case for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Paige Terryberry.

    The nonprofit watchdog Truth in Accounting (TIA) released its 13th annual Financial State of the States this week.

    The report found that in fiscal year 2021, 31 states did not have the money to pay their bills. Remarkably, this is an improvement from the year prior, when 40 states did not have a balanced budget.

    Every state except Vermont has a balanced budget requirement.

    According to TIA's model, legislators are able to give the impression of a balanced budget by using gimmicky math to dodge true costs, pushing the costs onto future taxpayers.

    The main culprit contributing to states' inability to pay their bills is unfunded retirement liabilities.

    In an ideal world, states would keep enough money on hand to pay for their employees' future retirement benefits. As in most years, "unfunded retirement liabilities were the largest contributing factor to the $1.2 trillion in state-level debt," according to the report.

    The report continues, "although these retirement benefits will not be paid until the employees retire, they still represent current compensation costs because they were earned and incurred throughout the employees' tenure."

    Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) plans for the Country, 2021

    TIA's findings underscore the importance of an accurate and transparent financial picture. Without this, it is too easy for legislators to overspend or otherwise manipulate the bottom line.

    TIA gives each state a letter grade based on their surplus or lack thereof. The TIA model divides the money needed to pay the state's bills by the number of taxpayers to come up with each state's Taxpayer BurdenTM. Any money leftover is divided by the taxpayer population, resulting in the Taxpayer SurplusTM. States are ranked accordingly and assigned a grade based on their Taxpayer SuplusTM.

    North Carolina ranked 14th overall. This year's surplus of $6.5 billion helped secure our state a B rating. Yet, since 2021, according to the TIA report, "market conditions have worsened and Covid funding is waning."

    North Carolina's unfunded liabilities for retiree health benefits totaled $23.75 billion as of June 2022. Unfortunately, unfunded liabilities are a large and growing share of the state budget even though recent years have seen a decrease. Any growth in government necessarily means a growth in the government workforce as the majority of our state budget goes to paying people. This then grows the liabilities that the state so often fails to meet.

    North Carolina should pursue long-term fiscal restraint. Pro-growth budgeting should not depend on who is in charge.

    North Carolina has received worse grades from TIA's report in the past. Thanks to fiscally conservative leadership, however, North Carolina is back on a pro-growth path. Our surplus revenue bolsters the case for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that protects future North Carolinians through an amendment to the state constitution to restrain spending. A TABOR would prevent shortsighted spending sprees that would endanger future taxpayers.
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 )

Complaint filed against PAC linked to NC Democratic Party Statewide, John Locke Foundation Guest Editorial, Editorials, Government, Op-Ed & Politics, State and Federal Improving Higher Ed Through Better Open-Records Laws


Latest State and Federal

Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections on Tuesday unanimously certified the results of the 2022 general election in North Carolina.
"I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators."
In a dramatic ruling issued just days before midterm elections, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling and ordered the transfer of millions of dollars to pay for a school improvement plan designed to ensure North Carolina’s school children receive a sound basic education
Witnesses say StackedPAC gave items in exchange for voting. The group is not legally registered to operate in North Carolina.
Please find attached the Voter History Statistical and Vote Totals by Precinct for November 8th, 2022.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released an updated North Carolina Dental Opioid Action Plan to provide clear steps and solutions for dentists and their staff, patients, families and communities to address the opioid epidemic.
Groups linked to North Carolina's travel and tourism industry are jumping into an occupancy tax case involving Currituck County.
N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein says a challenged state election law "threatens to chill speech at the heart of our democratic process." Stein wants federal courts to declare the law unconstitutional.
Sheetz offering lower prices on unleaded 88 gas until November 28 as a benefit to those in need
N.C. State Treasurer Dale Folwell discussed issues surrounding several towns in the state Tuesday during his monthly “Ask Me Anything” virtual press conference.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference at the Executive Mansion announcing the creation of a new commission tasked with reforming the University of North Carolina System’s governance.


On October 31, I listened to five hours of oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in SFFA v. UNC and SFFA v Harvard. Since I doubt many readers had the patience to do that, I’m sharing some of the highlights here.


Back to Top