Program Evaluation Division has served a useful purpose, but it was limited in what it could recommend. Partisan staff can more easily identify solutions, provide strategic advice, and answer “why” questions.
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.
Cooper's corporate welfare tally for 2020 is jaw-dropping: $519.3 million pledged to just 48 corporations. Supposedly that would lead to 11,600 new jobs, which is only about one-nineteenth the number of jobs destroyed in a year (222,300).
Citing "mediocre" transportation infrastructure, a report from a state government commission wants North Carolina to increase transportation spending by 40 percent over the next decade. To critics, it sounds like another taxpayer bailout of a poorly run state agency.
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.
Repealing the state's law against collective bargaining for public-sector employees would increase state government spending by between $889 million and $1.32 billion — a cost of $84.75 to $126.03 for each North Carolinian and a decrease in state gross domestic product.
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