State Budget


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, affordable 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 profitable corporations who are already doing well in today’s uneven and weak economic recovery.
It is critical that policymakers recognize the unmet needs and the importance of the state budget in building an economy that works for all. You can follow our analysis here.

TAKE ACTION!  The 2017 budget process might be over, but the 2017-19 budgeting process starts just around the corner in January 2017. We cannot afford to set a low bar for our future. In order to build an economy that gives everyone a fair shot, we must raise the bar and reinvest to support children, families, and communities. Tell lawmakers right now to raise the bar and invest in the things that help all Tar Heels thrive!

The budget debate should not be constrained by the priorities that policymakers place on tax cuts nor should policymakers adopt arbitrary spending formulas to determine their budget. Here is more on why budget gimmicks and tax and spending targets are wrong for North Carolina.

For more on the budget and process:

  • “Raising the Bar,” a series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved.


The state budget is a reflection of North Carolina’s values and commitment to supporting economic opportunity and investing in the state’s future. The Budget and Tax Center produces rigorous analysis of state budget proposals to determine if they adequately fund public structures and services, particularly those that promote shared prosperity, quality education, and healthy communities.

Public Investments – Every year, the Budget and Tax Center produces a report on each of the state budget proposals—from the governor, the NC House and the NC Senate—and one on the final budget. We analyze the budgets to determine if they make adequate investments in education, health and human services, the courts and public safety, transportation and the environment. Legislators often refer to our analyses during budget debates, and public officials and progressive organizations throughout the state rely on our reports to help them understand the state budget and what it means for their communities and issue areas.

Fiscal Responsibility – The Budget and Tax Center is the only research organization that looks not only at what investments the state is making but also how it pays for them. In addition to our tax analysis, we look at how decisions about savings, fund transfers, and the use of one-time money affect the state’s long-term fiscal health. The Budget and Tax Center also monitors the transparency and accountability of the budget process.

Human Impacts – The budget makes a difference in our everyday lives and the vibrancy of our communities. The Budget and Tax Center works to engage with communities on the budget and its impacts and monitor and document how it is affecting North Carolinians.