February 16, 2011

RALEIGH — Gov. Beverly Perdue’s state budget plan offers a good start for lawmakers looking to trim North Carolina’s overgrown government obligations. But the John Locke Foundation’s chief budget expert says Perdue’s plan also relies on tricks to kick critical decisions down the road.

The governor does not seem to recognize government’s proper role in bringing jobs to North Carolina, said Joseph Coletti, JLF Director of Health and Fiscal Policy Studies.

“The governor makes a number of small decisions right,” Coletti said. “Consolidating programs and agencies, closing state forests that nobody visits, and charging more for admission to aquariums are all good small ideas. But the governor kept every single teacher and teacher assistant, even though she admitted in her State of the State address that some of them are not educating students. If she is serious about focusing on the core services, we should also make sure those core services actually achieve their objectives.”

“The private sector lost 300,000 jobs in the last three years, even with billions of dollars of targeted tax cuts and transfers of tax dollars promised to favored companies,” he explained. “More corporate giveaways like the ones proposed in this budget are not economic development. Let’s get rid of the carve-outs and lower both the corporate and individual income tax rates so that workers, entrepreneurs, and their families can keep and invest more of their own money. Gov. Perdue has taken a first step by lowering the corporate income tax rate, but keeping most of the sales tax increase that was supposed to expire hurts businesses and working families.”

“If people really think government is the best solution to the state’s problems, let’s create a ‘tax me more’ fund and let those who want to pay more do so,” he added. “Anyone could choose to pay at that old level. They also can pay more if they choose. Let the advocates for higher taxes put their money into state government directly instead of taking money from the rest of us.”

The John Locke Foundation will release Coletti’s detailed state budget proposals soon.

For more information, please contact Joseph Coletti at (919) 828-3876 or [email protected]. To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 or [email protected].