Over the past two years, as we all know, the entire budget/economy has been hit hard. I know that the N.C. budget needs to be cut again this year, but let’s keep it sensible, especially where it affects education.
State spending on education is going down while need is going up. North Carolina is the sixth fastest growing state in the nation, and yet we rank 42nd in per-pupil spending.
So what do we do? Everything in the budget seems to count, and the education piece of the pie gets the biggest chunk at 38 percent. (This is down, compared to 1970 when 52.5 percent of the state general fund was allocated to education.)
Currently, N.C. has a 1 percent sales and corporate tax. You might not be aware of it, as it is estimated to cost the average N.C. family approximately $9 a year. The penny-on-the-dollar tax was enacted as a temporary measure to close the rising gaps in revenue that began with the national economic crisis. The tax generates $1.3 billion annually. This much-needed revenue covers approximately half of the education money lost through other factors.
Without extensions, this tax is set to expire this summer.
Gov. Bev Purdue’s budget will keep 75 percent of this tax in place. The State Republicans want to do away with it entirely. They have enough votes to override a Purdue veto.
We don’t need to continually think about cutting back, but we need to think about how we can generate more sources of revenue. Don’t slash the current sales tax — extend it.
There need to be cuts to the budget, including education, but keep the 1 percent sales tax, so that our future (our kids) are not so affected by our mistakes.
— Lissa Elizabeth Pedersen