New budget marks 10 years of declining public investments

Issue 88, No. 2 (July 12, 2018)

The new fiscal year began last week on July 1. The Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget puts fewer public dollars toward programs and services as a share of the economy than the state did before the Recession began. State spending for 2019 as a share of total state personal income is at its lowest point in 45 years.

Since 2010, policymakers have chosen to hold down spending rather than invest to meet the needs of a growing population and drive the benefits of a growing economy into public goods that can generate greater opportunity. In FY 2018-19, North Carolina total General Fund spending will represent 5 percent of total state personal income, a full percentage point below the historic average of 6 percent. 

If North Carolina policymakers had chosen to keep state investments at the historic average, the FY 2018-19 budget would have $4.7 billion more to invest.  These dollars would go a long way toward making transformative investments in the state’s public schools, in post-secondary education and early childhood institutions, and in the physical infrastructure of communities and protection of natural resources.