(From Andrew Dunn of Longleaf Politics)
With the General Assembly hunkered down to hammer out a budget agreement, Raleigh’s ABC11 asked Rep. Grier Martin what legislators should do with North Carolina’s growing surplus.
“You’ve only got a budget surplus if you’ve got more money than you need to meet your needs,” the Wake County Democrat told the TV station. “I don’t think there are many North Carolinians that would say we’re meeting our needs.”
He’s dead wrong — and that’s why the state’s budget impasse is extending into its third year.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has vetoed every single state budget since he’s taken office — and Republicans who control the state legislature haven’t been able to override it since losing supermajorities in 2018. Thus, North Carolina hasn’t had a new budget in three years.
When no new budget is passed, North Carolina simply continues on with spending levels from the most recent one, under state law. That means our state is currently operating under the budget passed in 2018, with minor adjustments made here and there through smaller-scope bills passed by the General Assembly.
Nobody has really noticed. The wheels of government still turn. Teachers are paid, state parks are open, roads are paved and tax collections pour in.
Voters certainly seem to be fine with it.
The electorate returned Cooper to the Executive Mansion, while Republicans added seats in the General Assembly — including flipping a seat in deep blue Wake County. Both sides used the budget as a talking point on the campaign trail, to little or no effect. People just didn’t care. [CONTINUE READING]