Trouble with the math
When anyone looks at their checkbook to do their regular balancing, eyeing expenses to income is at the heart of the process.
You never spend more than what you bring in.
Banks, stores, creditors and the like simply won't allow it.
But, our state seems willing to bypass the simple math to enact a budget.
That's exactly what we see when examining the preliminary budget passed by the General Assembly late Sunday night.
The plan calls for $20.6 billion in spending that has plenty of pros and cons.
One con is the increase in spending by nearly 2.5 percent while cutting taxes for businesses and individuals.
Thus, the math simply doesn't add up.
Spending more while taking in less is something that has troubled our federal government for over a decade and we have seen the mess that has left.
Now, it appears the state is willing to get into the same worrisome predicament.
One pro is the institution of a one-time payment for living victims of the state's disastrous eugenics program. The program forcibly sterilized over 7,500 people the state deemed "feeble-minded or otherwise undesirable" from 1929 to 1974.
The budget virtually puts the nonprofit Rural Economic Development Center out of business by eliminating its budget completely.
Teacher tenure … gone.
The state will replace that with merit-based pay for teachers.
Let's not forget about the $1.5 billion increase for Medicaid for what General Assembly leaders call "cost overruns."
State leaders suggest the budget is "another crucial step in putting North Carolina's fiscal house in order."
But, we are struggling with the mathematics of it all.
Let's put aside what we like and don't like and deal with simple figures.
An increase of 2.5 percent in spending coupled with a tax cut that amounts to over $500 million over the next two years.
Increasing spending coupled with less revenue means an unbalanced checkbook.
Something like that would not fly for very long with a North Carolina household, why in the world should it fly with our taxpayer dollars?
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark