Cooper, Berger offer divergent views of state surplus forecast

Senate Leader Phil Berger speaks as House Speaker Tim Moore and Gov. Roy Cooper look on during a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response Monday, May 4, 2020, at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH – A June 15 consensus revenue forecast shows that NC coffers are expected to have a surplus of over $6.5 billion by 2023 without funds from the American Rescue Plan.

“These new numbers show unprecedented resources are now available to make transformational investments for our state. Even though the Republican Senate bill giving big tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy is bad policy, we have enough money to pass my entire budget plus all those tax breaks with more money still remaining. We must now negotiate a responsible bipartisan budget that addresses everyone’s concerns,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) countered with a succinct statement, saying, “A huge surplus does not mean we’re spending too little. It means we’re taxing too much.”

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) also responded, saying, “There is no question that the strength of North Carolina’s economic outlook is proof that Republican policies work, and it is no coincidence that our state is the number two destination for Americans fleeing other states with bleak economic outlooks. North Carolina’s overall fiscal policy has set the stage for a commitment to conservative tax policies and we will continue to work collaboratively with the governor and the Senate to keep our state on an upward trajectory of economic growth.”