An uncertain economic time is not good for borrowing. If the state takes out debt and the post-COVID economy turns out to be smaller, then debt capacity will shrink and the debt will end up taking more from other priorities. If the economy recovers quickly, then the state would have more money available for capital anyway.
North Carolina state government continued to have strong finances seven months after the economy first began to slow in March. Budget writers should nevertheless be cautious about adding spending commitments, however.
As Milton Friedman often remarked, the bill always comes due. Today’s spending must be paid by taxes, regardless whether those taxes were collected in the past, are collected this year, or will be collected in the future.
Just before Labor Day, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the final bill appropriating money from North Carolina’s $3.6 billion share of the Coronavirus Trust Fund. He was clearly under duress. A veto of the bill that passed with large bipartisan majorities would surely have been overridden.