Andrew T. Heath: McCrory’s policies have North Carolina back on track
The timing of Alexandra Sirota’s Oct. 26 Point of View “N.C. tax cuts failed to grow economy” was interesting given it came on the heels of Gov. Pat McCrory’s announcement that the state ended the first quarter of the fiscal year with a $158 million revenue surplus driven by job growth and higher wages.
Sirota said, “… it is time now to consider that the better path lies in growing the wages of more North Carolinians.” That is precisely what McCrory has successfully done as his economic policies have made North Carolina one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation.
These policies have led to lower unemployment in all 100 counties, an average of 200 new jobs per day and higher household income. In fact, North Carolina’s median household income increased 9.9 percent in 2015, beating the national average and boosting household income above pre-recession levels.
Sirota has it backward. Governments can’t tax North Carolina into prosperity. Instead, governments must enact pro-growth policies that inspire economic activity and attract businesses. This, in turn, provides more jobs, higher wages and ultimately more tax revenue to wisely spend on state investments.
Under McCrory’s leadership, our state has cut taxes for families and businesses by $4.7 billion and eliminated hundreds of burdensome regulations. These policies have attracted countless business expansions and allowed the state to add more than 300,000 new jobs since 2013, making North Carolina one of the most improved business climates in the country.
McCrory’s policies have worked. The state ended the fiscal year with a $430 million revenue surplus, and this positive trend continues into the current fiscal year as North Carolina is beating revenue targets by $158 million.
Sirota also mistakenly argued that increased education and infrastructure investments cannot happen while tax cuts are pursued. In reality, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Because the governor’s policies have attracted hundreds of thousands of jobs and led to higher income, we have smashed revenue targets while cutting taxes. These policies have allowed us to increase state investments while cutting taxes. This has also allowed us to begin recovery from the damage prior administrations inflicted on education budgets.
Additionally, our state’s unwavering investments in transportation and infrastructure have never been higher. The budget increased funding for roads and bridges by $700 million and ensures highway funds will solely be used for transportation projects.
McCrory also proposed and the voters approved the $2 billion Connect NC bond to invest in our universities, community colleges, state parks, National Guard and water and sewer infrastructure.
On top of that, the governor built up the state’s rainy day fund to an all-time-high of $1.6 billion which will help rebuild infrastructure that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
These investments in North Carolina’s future will benefit our state for generations to come. These are the facts, not rhetoric. McCrory’s record on the economy speaks for itself.
ANDREW T. HEATH
STATE BUDGET DIRECTOR
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the Point of View.