Editorial: An NC budget that chooses decline over investment
The News and Observer has weighed in on the budget passed late last week and the verdict isn't good. As they highlight, this budget fails to invest in North Carolina's future and doubles down on tax hikes for working families.
Meg Wiehe, state tax policy director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advocates tax fairness, says North Carolina is virtually alone in the nation in giving away the fruits of recovery.
“It’s very counter to what we’ve seen in other states where revenue has come back and states are making investments to make up for cuts during the recession,” Wiehe says.
The only other state indulging in repeated tax cuts is Ohio, Wiehe says, but Ohio has approved a federally funded expansion of its Medicaid program and added an earned income tax credit for low-wage earners. North Carolina, along with 18 other states, is still rejecting the billions of federal health care dollars expansion would bring and has eliminated its earned income tax credit.
If North Carolina’s Republican leaders really had a spending plan, they wouldn’t have needed an extra two months to get it through a legislature with Republican super majorities in both both houses.
What they came up with is a budget that follows trickle-down theories even as more Republicans rebel against that folly. Donald Trump is leading the field of Republican presidential candidates by saying he will increase taxes on the rich and won’t let “hedge fund guys rip off the people by paying no or very little in taxes.”
Most North Carolinians understand that the state won’t prosper simply by making the prosperous more so. That’s why an August Public Policy Polling poll found the General Assembly’s approval rating at 15 percent versus a 60 percent disapproval.