The Economic Perspective: “Budget Surpluses”

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at budget surpluses.  Mike, the term budget surplus, particularly when applied to governments, isn’t used often.  Yet I understand that in the case of North Carolina, budget surpluses are becoming quite common. Please explain.

  • For each of the last five budget years, NC has actually collected more revenue than it forecasted
  • Most recent surplus is near $1 billion
  • In contrast, during the years of the Great Recession, revenues came in under expectations
  • But since state can’t borrow for general services, state had to ultimately eliminate the deficit through higher taxes and/or reduced spending
  • But we’re in the opposite good news situation today
  • But raises another question – what to do with the surplus – return to taxpayers, save, or spend
  • A source of debate
  • I’m MW

Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.