June 15 - HKonJ march to save the budget

Two months ago we all came together to support financial reform and sound fiscal policy.

Now, with North Carolina in the most severe budget crisis in decades, some extremist politicians refuse to let the North Carolina attempt to stem the bleeding. 

Legislators are proposing unprecedented cuts to critical services by eliminating 12,000 teaching positions, cutting children's health insurance, teacher pay, cancer research, medicare, and job placement services, and closing rape crisis, abuse, and sexual assault centers across the state.  Conservatives believe the way out of the recession is eliminating the safety net for the economically disadvantaged while preventing the next generation from getting the education they need to succeed.  

Shockingly, many legislators are content with these cuts, refusing to offset them with any increase in revenues.  Corporate backed groups across the state are mobilizing, barraging legislators with e-mails, calls, and letters encouraging them to fire our teachers instead of raise taxes on the wealthy. 

We have to do something.

1. Call your legislator today.
Tell them you support a balanced approach to the budget, including both budget cuts and revenue increases. Find out who represents you by clicking here.

2. Attend a rally this Monday, June 15, at 5:30pm.  We'll meet across from the Jones Street entrance to the Legislative Building.  We’ll gather on the outdoor space between the NC Museum of History and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and march to the N.C. General Assembly to call on our state leaders to say “NO” to destructive budget cuts and “YES” to a balanced budget solution. Click here for more info.

We've fought tooth and nail for small legislative victories over the last twenty years, and conservatives are out to destroy them all with one budget.  They want to send North Carolina back to the stone age.  Its up to us to make sure we keep moving forward. 


Always fact check

The TogetherNC site makes the claim:

Spending isn’t the problem. The reality is that spending per person is actually down from nine years

I usually like to run the numbers myself because I tend to distrust politicians after being lied to by Bush for 8 years. I'm really wondering where this claim that spending per person is down. It appears to be way up even when adjusted for inflation. Am I missing something?

2000 NC Population: 8,079,152
2000 NC Budget: $24.501 billion ($30.634 in 2008 dollars)
2000 $/resident: $3,791 (inflation adjusted)

2008 NC Population: 9,227,016
2008 NC Budget: $44.430 billion
2008 $/resident: $4,815

% increase in population: 14.2%
% increase in budget: 45% (inflation adjusted)
% increase in %/resident: 27% (inflation adjusted)

Budget Data: http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/new_content/historical_budget_data.pdf
Population Data: http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/ncosbm/facts_and_figures/socioeconomic_data/population_estimates/demog/n...
Inflation Calculator: http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

Don't confuse forecast with reported.

You're confusing projected income and priorities with actual revenue and spending. For starters, budget does not necessarily equal spending. Actual spending is adjusted throughout the year consistent with the budget, needs, and revenue.

Typically, budget information is presented for continuation of operations, expansion, and capital improvements.

This year, because of drastically reduced revenue, spending has been drastically reduced.

Secondly, the overall State Budget should not be confused with portion of budget and spending associated with state revenues, the General Fund. The overall "budget" is essentially a revenue projection for each year with authorized allocations to programs. It assumes about $14B in Federal revenues (mostly for Health & Education), $2.5B in Highway Trust Fund revenue, $8B in Other revenue leaving about $21B in General Fund Appropriated revenue.

See for yourself: State General Fund spending over the past two decades

The NC Justice Center can set you straight. If you want information about actual expenditures you have to go to the NC Controller's Office, not the NC Budget Office which is a forecasting service, not a reporting agency.

When is a budget a budget?

I am aware that the general fund accounts for half of NC's budget. It seems disingenuous to only use a subset of the budget data and to suggest that the Budget Office doesn't have accurate information on the Budget.

Should our state not be accountable for other revenue and spending besides general fund? What about lottery revenue? That doesn't go to the general fund. So, in your examination lottery revenue is completely left out because you examine only a subset of data.

I imagine part of the reason general fund spending has remained fairly neutral is due to the explosion in other revenue that our state has received. Our you suggestion we ignore this additional revenue and associated spending? Revenue from the Feds has increased 100% over the past 8 years. "Other" revenue has increased 400% over the past 8 years. Any budget analysis that conviently ignores this data just proves Mark Twain correct...

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

What in the world?

You very obviously can't read your own sources. Page 3 of that first link says the state expenditures were 13.5 million in 2000-2001 and 20 million in 2007-2008. So I have no idea where the 24 million and 44 million dollar claim comes from.

And others have already addressed the differences between budgeting and spedning. Also, if you were paying attention earlier this year you would have read the Governor's budget proposal that discussed the fact that most agencies spend less than they have appropriated to them in a normal year.

"Keep the Faith"


Thanks packman97! So glad to see there are other North Carolinans out there that are willing to do the math and think for themselves rather than drinking the gov't koolaid.

You rock!

Idiocy anyone?

Both sides of the political spectrum have been advocating for years for revising the NC tax code to include services in the modern-day service based economy. Our early 20th century tax code is a large part of what's led to this budget mess.

And this packman character doesn't know how to read a chart. The state budget has never been over 30B. It only broke the 20B mark a few years ago.

Your failure to understand such basic concepts is telling.


Budget is budget

Spending is spending.

Two different things. The "State Budget" is generally referred to as that portion of the overall budget associated with General Fund Appropriations.

So the budget is not the

So the budget is not the "Total Authorized NC State Budget". Interesting. Now I see why we are in such a budget hole.


We are in a hole because the actual State Revenues associated with General Fund Appropriations have fallen short of "budgeted" projections.

Even though Federal spending in included in the total budget and the State is responsible for it the spending should not be confused with General Fund spending controlled by the Legislature.

Simplifying the rhetoric doesn't simplified the problem, it compounds it and confounds reasonable solutions. Such solutions include broadening the tax base to provide stable revenue sources so that "budget" might some day actually equal "expenditure" and "revenue".

Nothing simple about it

There is nothing simple about our budget process, sadly.

The issue arises when you do not account for other revenue and spending aside from the general fund.

For example, as part of the stimulus NC has received $2.5 billion for the DHHS, almost all of which will go towards providing services. NC will receive over $700 billion that will go to the DPI only 10% of that is for school improvement.

So, what we've done here is added about $3 billion in revenue/spending that is outside of the general fund and outside the subset of the budget that you want to look at. Without that money we would be in a serious hole. I'm not suggesting that NC does not have a budget problem, we certainly do. However, to get a handle on it we need to look at the entire budget in order to see the big picture. Personally, I'm terrified of what will happen when the feds run out of our money to send back.

It's a nice little shell game.

I wish

"NC will receive over $700 billion that will go to the DPI only 10% of that is for school improvement."

Little typo there, buddy. $700 billion would keep us in salisbury steaks and #2 pencils for quite a while. :)

I don't think there is

I don't think there is anything little in that typo.

$700 million is the correct number.

The B vs. the M

Great Hera, man!

Million not Billion

scharrison is being a lot nicer than I am.

Heed his kind observation.



Who the hell do you think "they" are, Lori. "They" are the people "we" elected.

You seem to have a problem with that when "they" are Democrats. But I'm guessing you were all gushy when "they" were the incompetent fools of the Bush administration that drove this country over a freakin' cliff for eight years ... while "you" were probably cheerleadin' for the war in Iraq.

So, you are making an assumption that if you oppose tax cuts

then you must be pro-Bush and pro-war. Quite a leap.

The majority of registered voters are Independent which I think shows us how BOTH parties have become so disconnected with the majority of Americans.


The majority of registered voters are Independent...

NC Voter Registration as of 06/12/2009
Democratic: 2,777,702
Republican: 1,939,043
Libertarian: 5,155
Unaffiliated: 1,364,890
Total: 6,086,790


You mean "oppose tax increases"?

There's a very high correlation between people who oppose taxes and Republicans. And a high correlation between Republicans and support for the Iraq war and Bush.

That observation doesn't require much of a leap at all. But if you're one of the few anti-tax zealots who opposed the war and the disastrous presidency of George Bush, I apologize for painting you with that brush.

I am an unaffiliated voter myself, conservative in upbringing, but born again as a progressive. I am in favor of more taxes and more public services, including a public option for health care.