May 4, 2016

A study from Western Carolina University professors shows how the Constitutional spending limit in the Taxpayer Protection Act can help North Carolina stay on a sound fiscal course.

Consider these fiscal facts:

“North Carolina’s total state government spending now consumes twice as large of a share of the state’s economy as it did in 1970, and per capita spending nearly quadrupled – even after adjusting for inflation – during that time.”

Now read this:

“Total state spending – including the General Fund, transportation and federal aid – ballooned by 600 percent from 1970 to 2012, after adjusting for inflation. Population growth does not explain away this whopping increase, either. Per capita spending, even after adjusting for inflation, grew nearly fourfold during this time.

In short, state government is spending virtually four times as much money per person than it was four decades ago. Indeed, by 2012 total state spending had grown to 8.8 percent of the state’s GDP, double the 4.4 percent share in 1970.”

Education spending growth at 500% was below the total spending growth of 600%. But government pension spending skyrocketed by 2,000%.

And the unrealistic investment returns the Treasurer assumes in the pension fund mean each North Carolina family of four faces a $14,000 debt to payoff the state’s unfunded pension liabilities.

That’s a serious mess hanging over our heads. We need to fix it.

The Taxpayer Protection Act places a handcuff on overspending politicians by limiting spending to no more inflation plus population. The Legislature should give the people a chance to vote on it.