CIVITAS: How NC Conservatives Brought State Debt Under Control

RALEIGH – For years now there’s been a lot of hemming and hawing by Democrats about an ‘illegitimate majority,’ but the Left always seems to skirt by the very tangible reasons that majority kept getting elected, district maps notwithstanding. One of those reasons is the relative fiscal conservatism that took hold on Jones Street under Republican control.

The latest fiscal year resulted in nearly $1 billion revenue surplus, and there’s even talk of giving some of it back to taxpayers, but those surpluses wouldn’t be around if Republicans hadn’t engineered a significant debt elimination plan. Before Republican majorities, Democrats’ policies performed true to form and dug the State of North Carolina into a huge financial hole. Paying off these debts has supported our State’s stellar credit rating and, with lower taxes, has made the Old North State a top economic performer in the years since.

So how’d they set North Carolina up on a lower debt trend when the nation at large is poling up more debt than ever? Brian Balfour of the Civitas Institute explains in detail:

“While the federal debt crisis continues to spiral out of control, a different trend has occurred in the last several years here in the Tar Heel State.

After two decades of significant ramping up of state debt, new conservative leadership in 2011 ushered in a policy of fiscal restraint that has resulted in a notable reduction in the state’s debt burden.

The last three years has seen the approval of new state debt, however. In 2016, voters approved a $2 billion bond referendum known as “Connect NC,” with the funds largely dedicated to college campus infrastructure, public parks and water and sewer projects. The bond represented the first time in a decade and a half that voters were actually afforded the opportunity to approve state debt – a drastic improvement.

The Connect NC bonds will be repaid with state General Fund monies.

More recently, the legislature approved $3 billion in infrastructure bonds known as the “Build NC” bonds. That debt will be financed through the Highway Trust Fund, not the General Fund. […]”

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So, that’s a lot of new debt, which is disappointing, but the overall improvement to the State’s picture gives an idea of just why the extra credit was earned.

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That’s a good trend, and evidence that Republican fiscal policies work. Democrats hoping to unseat Republicans as a majority on Jones Street in 2020 will be hard pressed to prove otherwise. As a result, they’ll talk right past the nuts and bolts issues in order to smear Republicans with whatever sticks in order to set about spending all the money Republican policies have saved.

Learn more about how conservatives got North Carolina’s fiscal house in order here.

 

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