by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
It’s a massive spending plan. On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced his new state budget proposal, a plan that would spend far too much money, setting North Carolina’s state government on an unsustainable future path. Locke analysts note that the governor also continues his pointless push to expand Medicaid, touts an unnecessary bond package, and targets popular parental school choice programs for cutbacks.
Locke’s Senior Political Analyst Mitch Kokai discussed some of the big concerns with Locke’s Donna Martinez on WPTF radio.
#1: Huge Increase in Overall Spending: Gov. Cooper would spend $2.8 billion more in 2021-22 than the state budgeted for this year, a huge increase that is bad news for the future. Mitch explains:
#2: Ill-Advised Medicaid Expansion: Rather than removing barriers and increasing options for affordable health insurance and care, Gov. Cooper wants to add 600,000 North Carolinians to the government insurance plan meant to be a safety net for the most fragile and vulnerable. Cooper estimates the cost at $500 million, which Locke analysts believe is low, since that assumes hospitals will cover the gap in the long term, something they have been reluctant to do in the past. Here’s Mitch:
#3: Inexplicably Targets Poor Kids: Despite an $804 million increase in education spending over the next two years, Gov. Cooper wants to eliminate the popular education scholarship program for poor kids, which enrolls almost 16,000 students. Here is Cooper’s budget:
So poor kids lose out, but educators are big winners in the Cooper budget plan. Mitch explains:
#4: Borrowing To Spend Even More: Gov. Cooper proposes a $4.7 billion bond package for a November 2021 statewide vote. Locke analysts note there’s no reason to borrow and a bond would increase our state’s fiscal fragility. Mitch weighs in:
BONUS PERSPECTIVE: Here’s Locke’s Joe Coletti with his take on the governor’s proposal.