Behind the numbers

November 20, 2011 

As reported in the Nov. 17 article "Data show layoffs are fewer," legislative budget writers are seizing on a new report from the Office of State Budget and Management as evidence that the 2011-13 state budget isn't as harmful as others have made it out to be.

Unfortunately, the OSBM's report of 1,630 severance packages doesn't tell the whole story. Here's why:

1. Many jobs that rely on state funds are local government positions and not included in the report. For example, the Department of Public Instruction reports that over 1,200 teacher assistants have lost their jobs since the budget's passage. These are not included in the OSBM numbers.

2. The fiscal year is only four months old. Some departments haven't yet implemented all of the spending reductions.

3. The OSBM report does not include any impact on the private sector. Using an industry-standard model, the N.C. Budget and Tax Center estimated that over 30,000 jobs would be lost as a result of the 2011-13 state budget, nearly half of which are expected to come from the private sector.

We hope were wrong about the long-term effect of the 2011-13 budget on the state economy, but the OSBM provides little evidence to the contrary.

Louisa Warren

Rob Thompson

Coordinators, Together NC

Raleigh

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