• Research Report

    The Budget Untouchables: Increased Spending Overwhelms Reported Cuts

    posted February 20, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    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.
  • Research Report

    Get Control of Medicaid: Bringing Costs Into Line Will Help State Budget

    posted February 1, 2005 by Joseph Coletti
    States have three direct policy levers to control Medicaid growth: eligibility, services, and payments. North Carolina’s mix of policies has led to some of the highest costs in the South, but the Blue Ribbon Commission on Medicaid Reform would make it even costlier. Tennessee and Mississippi, the two Southern states with higher per capita costs in 2000, have since made significant changes. Georgia and Virginia present different ways to reduce costs, while a 2001 report for the General Assembly presented largely unexploited savings.
  • Press Release

    Analyst: Get Control of Medicaid

    posted February 1, 2005
    RALEIGH — A major cause of North Carolina’s continuing budget woes is rapid growth in Medicaid spending, where the state has some of the highest expenditures in the South, according…
  • Research Report

    Where to Find Savings: Benchmarking, Setting Priorities the Key to Balance

    posted May 31, 2004 by John Hood
    As the 2004-05 budget process continues, policymakers should use regional and historical benchmarks to identify where to look for savings. Among major budget items, North Carolina spending on K-12 education and law enforcement is at the regional average but its Medicaid and higher-education expenses are higher than in comparable states. Reasonable restraint would save enough money to repeal last year’s tax hikes and catch up on deferred repairs and renovations.
  • Press Release

    NC House Budget Isn’t “Timely”

    posted April 16, 2003
    RALEIGH — The North Carolina House has moved with uncharacteristic speed to devise a budget plan for the 2003-05 biennium, but a preliminary analysis by the John Locke Foundation questions…
  • Research Report

    The Freedom Budget: Nine Rs for North Carolina Fiscal Responsibility

    posted March 31, 2003 by Dr. Roy Cordato, Don Carrington, John Hood
    North Carolina faces significant fiscal and economic challenges over the next two years. But it need not resort to higher taxes, a state-run lottery, higher debt, or gimmickry to balance its budget. Nor does North Carolina need to skimp on crucial needs such as education and highways. By setting firm priorities within state government, eliminating unnecessary or duplicative programs, and charging users of some services a reasonable price, state leaders can generate sufficient savings to invest in the future needs of the state.
  • Press Release

    Legislature to Face Budget Challenge

    posted January 23, 2003
    RALEIGH — Even after much-publicized budget “cuts” in each of the past three fiscal years, North Carolina state spending this year is up 80 percent from what it was 10…
  • Press Release

    “Agenda 2002 Tour” Begins Sept. 3

    posted August 25, 2002
    RALEIGH — Policy analysts from the John Locke Foundation will discuss taxes, the state budget, property rights, education, the state’s economy, and other key issues this election season in a…
  • Research Report

    Changing Course IV: An Alternative Budget for North Carolina

    posted May 6, 2001 by John Hood, Dr. Roy Cordato, Don Carrington
    North Carolina faces significant fiscal and economic challenges over the next two years. But it need not resort to higher taxes, a state-run lottery, higher debt, or gimmickry to balance its budget. Nor does North Carolina need to skimp on crucial needs such as education and highways. By setting firm priorities within state government, eliminating unnecessary or duplicative programs, and charging users of some services a reasonable price, state leaders can generate sufficient savings to invest in the future needs of the state.
  • Research Report

    Triage for Medicaid

    posted March 6, 2001 by John Hood
    Among the major causes of this year's $800 million state budget deficit is a $108 million increase in projected Medicaid spending. After a brief period of slow growth in the late-1990s, North Carolina's Medicaid program is now a significant threat to the state's long-term fiscal health. It is also the most expensive Medicaid program in the South. The state should enact reforms in eligibility and benefits which could save taxpayers at least $251 million a year.

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