State Budget


As the 2017 budget debate nears its end, the time to take action is nearly over. The budget debate this year has been focused on revising the second year of a two-year budget approved in 2015. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the N.C. House and Senate budget proposals, so you can easily see what the differences are.

Either way, the final budget will be unnecessarily limited by the tax cuts passed in 2013 and again in 2015. 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.

The $22.225 billion budget proposal that the state House of Representatives released for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year reflects the limited aspirations for North Carolina that the House and Senate leadership have agreed on. Legislative leadership used a flawed formula to set a low budget target — even lower than the Governor’s $22.33 billion proposal — that has no basis in economic realities or community needs and leaves $127.4 million on the table unspent. The Senate is putting together its package now. Read more.

TAKE ACTION! 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:


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.