In recent years, state policymakers have failed to prioritize our public systems, instead enacting tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and profitable corporations. Because of those tax cuts and a slow economic recovery, the state doesn’t have enough revenue to adequately support the systems that fuel economic growth.
That’s not how it worked in the past. Coming out of previous recessions, North Carolina quickly reversed the cuts made when times were tight and increased investments in roads, schools, and universities that paved the way for an economy that outpaced many other Southern states. In fact, returning to pre-recession spending levels as a part of the economy means that the state would have $3.2 billion more to invest in core public services.
Today, instead of making investments, policymakers are using the tax system and the state budget to bulldoze the infrastructure of opportunity. As state leaders create the Fiscal Year 2015- 2017 biennial budget, we can encourage them to make investments that are proven to grow our economy and promote financial stability for families and the state government. But we have to acknowledge that they can’t make those investments without the necessary revenue.