Every North Carolinian wants to live in a thriving community. We all want well-staffed public schools for our children to learn the skills they’ll need in adulthood. We all want safe, easy-to-navigate streets so we can get where we need to be. And we all want strong local businesses that support a robust local economy.

These are all elements of a thriving community. These are all values that we share.

So how do we as a state demonstrate our values? How do we make sure our values translate into our lived experiences?

The state budget.

Our state budget represents our values in practice. This handbook will explain how the budget sets priorities for our communities and impacts our quality of life. This handbook will also tell you how you can make sure your community’s needs are reflected in the state budget.

Whether every North Carolina family and community can support children’s healthy development depends a lot on state-level policy and investment choices. Each year, North Carolina policymakers come together in Raleigh to set priorities for how taxpayer dollars will be spent. Where policymakers choose to prioritize $20 billion of investment is important, and your voice can make sure that their choices reflect the goals and needs of your community.

This guide provides an overview of the state budget, the budget development process, and ways that you can use your voice and engage in ensuring the state budget supports children and families.