State spending in North Carolina is historically low. Brian Balfour's flawed Dec. 8 opinion piece "Cuts will barely pare total N.C. spending" presents a deeply misleading explanation of the causes of the budget shortfall and minimizes its effect on the state's economic recovery.
The budget shortfall is a revenue problem driven by the recession, not a spending problem. Spending this year will be lower relative to the state's economy than all but one year since the Nixon administration.
But since the recession began, North Carolina has added 315,000 residents. This means tens of thousands more students, workers and families relying on vital public investments like K-12 education, community college and public safety services. Our growing population combined with the recession drives the state's budget shortfall, not spending.
North Carolina families continue to struggle with job loss and declining wages while job creation remains insufficient to meet the growing labor force demand. More spending cuts mean more job losses in the public and private sector, which threatens to derail the slow but positive trajectory of the economic recovery. Progress requires wise investment, not shortsighted cuts.