BTC REPORTS: 2017 Fiscal Year Budget Falls Short of Being a Visionary Plan for North Carolina’s Economic Future

By Tazra Mitchell & Cedric Johnson
Budget & Tax Center
July 2016

North Carolina lawmakers approved a 2017 fiscal year state budget that falls short of being a visionary plan for the state’s future. The pursuit of a rigid spending formula combined with another round of tax breaks prevented lawmakers from proposing an adequate budget, let alone a bold one.
These new tax breaks come on top of recent tax breaks, which together are projected to cost more than $2 billion annually once fully implemented. These are resources that the state will not have for public education, aff ordable housing, the court system, and other vital services that help children, families, and communities thrive. Instead, these multiple rounds of tax breaks will primarily benefit the wealthy and profi table corporations who are already doing well in today’s uneven and weak economic recovery.
The $22.34 billion budget that lawmakers enacted reflects their limited aspirations for North Carolina, increasing spending by only 2.8 percent, or $606.7 million, over 2016. While the budget reinvests in some worthy programs and services, these additional investments represent a small fraction of what is needed to boost economic opportunity and help North Carolinians doing their best to get by—North Carolinians like the children stuck on persistently long waitlists for early childhood education, jobless workers facing too few jobs and job training programs, and older adults going without the in-home and community support that they need. 
This slight year-to-year increase in investments is below the historical average, and it is too small to operate core public services, catch up and keep up with the needs of a growing state population, and substantially address the persistent challenges in ensuring that every community has access to opportunity. The reality is that without additional tax giveaways to the wealthy and powerful, much more could have been possible to improve North Carolinians’ quality of life and to build a stronger, more inclusive economy for all.
Download the full report below.

PDF icon BTC Reports - FINAL BUDGET.PDF502.02 KB
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