With a surplus left over in the state’s coffers, Sen. Brent Jackson believes some of it should be put away for a rainy day.
In early May, Gov. Pat McCrory announced an estimated revenue surplus of $400 million for the current fiscal year which ends June 30. Previously, a $271 million shortfall was predicted.
“It tells me that the economy is recovering as a whole,” Jackson said during a recent interview. “People are working, businesses are hiring and businesses are creating products and services that are generating income. I think it’s all positive.”
In addition, the senator who represents Sampson County said the surplus is a result of actions taken by legislators. Although it’s good news, Jackson indicated that the future is still uncertain, and spending the surplus frivilously not a good idea.
“I truly believe that we need to get our rainy day fund up where it needs to be,” Jackson stressed.
But he does not want to put it all away, either. Jackson believes some of the surplus should go towards repairs and renovations for state buildings, university facilities and school systems. For Jackson, that “can has been kicked down the road” for a long time.
“I think there’s several other ways we can put this one-time money into non-occurring expenses,” he said. “The needs out there are endless as far as repairs and maintenance.”
Decisions regarding the money have not been made, but according to a news release from McCrory’s office, the governor will continue a conservative, fiscally responsible path by investing more money into the state’s reserve and into repair and renovations fund.
“This surplus is the result of a growing economy, fiscally responsible budget, and tax reform that’s putting more money in the pockets of North Carolinians,” McCrory said in a news release. “With this revised budget forecast, I’m calling for fiscally responsible investments in savings and reserves, and a new round of investments that will provide services to the people of North Carolina and easing the tax burden on senior citizens and job creators.”
Locally, Jackson believes Sampson County residents can benefit from the surplus, if it’s used correctly.
“I think withhis, along with some other things we’re trying to do policy wise, Sampson County should be posed to get their fair share of ,” he said mentioning the idiom “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
“We have stated all along that we would get a more complete picture of revenue during the second half of the fiscal year,” state dudget director Lee Roberts stated in a news release. “At this point in the fiscal year, with the bulk of tax returns having been filed, we have more confidence in the revenue projections, which is why Governor McCrory decided to make these critical investments.”
It was also stated that the governor will propose reinstating the medical expense tax deduction for seniors as well as targeted salary investments for employees impacting residents. In addition, the governor will also budget funds to cover debt service payments of the Connect NC bond investments, if the program gets a pass from the General Assembly and voters.
The state now has an extra $400 million, which Jackson compared to a lottery situation.
“We won the lottery in this particular case and I think we need to save it for when we we’re going to have another recession,” Jackson said. “It’s just a matter of time when we have a downturn in the economy.”
When Jackson took office several years ago, he said there was a shortfall of more than $2 billion and no rainy day fund available.
“I’m not saying put 100 percent there, but I think we need to give serious consideration to at least getting the rainy day fund up to a billion dollars,” he said. “I thin we can do that this year.”
But overall, Jackson said the surplus is a result of being fiscally responsible and the work of lawmakers.
“I think this just goes to show that when you tighten your belt and try to make the system fair across the board,” he said. “These are the returns that you’re going to see.”
He also stressed and mentioned taxing methods and deductions.
“I’ll think you’ll see some of that being corrected this sessions and some of this money going back to the taxpayers through tax reform and other services.”