Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Radio No. 848: N.C. budget surplus nears unexpected $900 million

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N.C. policymakers recently learned that state government ended its last budget year in June with a revenue surplus of nearly $900 million. Meanwhile, Gov. Roy Cooper wants the state to borrow more money as it increases spending in the new budget year and beyond. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, places those facts in the broader context of North Carolina’s fiscal picture. State Treasurer Dale Folwell has seen pushback from large medical providers as he has proceeded with his Clear Pricing Project for the State Health Plan. It serves government workers and retirees. Folwell discusses the project and explains why it’s necessary for the health plan’s long-term viability. North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program recently faced an attack from N.C. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake. You’ll hear Jackson’s comments, along with a response from a Republican House colleague. N.C. lawmakers have debated the pros and cons of legalized smokable hemp. You’ll hear highlights from committee debate about the hemp. Growers and law enforcement interests clash over whether legalized smokable hemp generates more benefits than costs. Most us know that certain drugs are illegal. Far fewer of us know that North Carolinians are expected to pay taxes on their illegal drugs. Brenee Goforth, marketing and communications associate at the John Locke Foundation, discusses the state’s unauthorized substances tax. Authorities can seize property to force people to pay the tax. It generates $6 million to $11 million each year for state government.