New Budget & Tax Center report: ‘A healthy economy relies on healthy people’

RALEIGH (May 18, 2020) — Quick and bold actions by North Carolina and the federal government in response to the effects of COVID-19 can save lives, contain the economic harm, and accelerate and strengthen the pace of the recovery, according to a new report released today by the N.C. Budget & Tax Center.  

The report provides an analysis of the policies and investment decisions that have been made so far, with a focus on the gaps in the response to date and the systemic issues that must be addressed for a strong recovery after the pandemic. It also discusses critical lessons learned from previous recessions and policy ideas that could help fill the gaps.

The report also makes the case that public policy response must reach all people, since the exclusion of certain groups can further hamper the recovery process and hold back overall public health.

“A healthy economy relies on healthy people,” said Alexandra Sirota, primary author of the report and Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “The response of North Carolina and the federal government to the effects of COVID-19 have come slowly and have not included everyone who needs support. Investing in people with the greatest needs now will help avoid costly outcomes in the future and will support a more inclusive, resilient North Carolina in the future.”

The emergency and temporary nature of the responses could also remove these critical policies before COVID-19’s effects or the economic challenges are fully resolved. And perhaps most importantly, the underlying systemic failures that the novel coronavirus has laid bare have largely gone unaddressed, resulting in missed opportunities to build more resilient communities.

The report also discusses missteps in policy response that have prioritized the bottom lines of the few over the well-being of everyone.

“Some policy choices have unnecessarily supported the bottom lines of big corporations, wealthy individuals, and other special interests. It’s important to make clear the harm caused to the broader response by these missteps and the diversion of critical resources to the powerful few,” said Leila Pedersen, Policy Analyst with the Budget & Tax Center and a contributor to the report.

Read the report.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Alexandra Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center, at 919-861-1468 or; or Mel Umbarger, BTC Senior Communication Specialist, at

The Budget & Tax Center conducts non-partisan analysis of state budget and tax policy and monitors economic conditions in the state. We produce timely and accessible research that contributes to policy discussions and public debate, with the goal of building a broader understanding of the role of policy in supporting economic opportunity for all.