by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Despite a $1.3 billion deficit, Gov. Mike Easley will propose up to 6 percent higher spending in his 2005-06 budget, even with small proposed savings in most agencies. Medicaid and education spending have grown rapidly, and will continue apace. Instead, the governor plans to keep the temporary half-cent sales tax and add a large cigarette tax to pay for higher spending. This is no way to address what the Fiscal Research Division calls a structural budget deficit.