Read JLF senior fellow Joe Coletti’s spotlight report on the details of the North Carolina 2018-19 budget here.
For a second straight year, state legislators overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to enact a state budget. The $23.9 billion General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 is 3.85 percent larger than the prior year. It includes higher salaries for nearly every state employee, sets aside $221 million for rainy day savings, and keeps tax changes enacted in 2017 that will save taxpayers $1 billion per year starting Jan. 1, 2019
The General Assembly had established a solid record of good fiscal management in previous budgets. What became law is far better than Gov. Cooper’s spendthrift approach to raising taxes, but the General Assembly used a bad process and some subtle accounting maneuvers to keep spending per person constant after adjusting for inflation. We hope for a more complete and realistic proposal from Gov. Cooper in 2019 and expect a return to more fiscal restraint from the legislature.