Press Release

New report pegs North Carolina taxpayer burden at $43.4 billion

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Click here to view and here to listen to Joseph Coletti discussing this press release.

RALEIGH — North Carolina state government faces a “precarious financial position” because it doesn’t have $43.4 billion available to pay state obligations as they come due. That’s the assessment the Chicago-based Institute for Truth in Accounting reaches in a new report (PDF link) released today.

“Each North Carolina taxpayer* is on the hook for $16,300 to pay health and pension benefits to state employees,” said Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation Director of Health and Fiscal Policy Studies. “This report from the Institute for Truth in Accounting should be a wake-up call to elected officials and taxpayers. Past legislatures and governors made unsustainable promises to state employees. Defined-contribution health and pension plans would be better for state employees and taxpayers alike, so they should be part of the budget solution this year.”

North Carolina reported total assets of $80.4 billion, but also had almost $35.4 billion of off-balance sheet retirement liabilities, according to the new report. Among the state’s assets, almost $57.2 billion cannot be converted easily to cash to pay state bills of $66.6 billion as they come due. Most of the obligations relate to pension and retirement health care benefits for state workers and teachers.

For more information, please contact Joseph Coletti at (919) 828-3876 or To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 or

*NOTE: In an earlier version of this release, the $16,300 obligation was applied to every North Carolina resident. The reference to “taxpayer,” rather than “resident,” represents a correction.

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About John Locke Foundation

We are North Carolina’s Most Trusted and Influential Source of Common Sense. The John Locke Foundation was created in 1990 as an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work “for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.” The Foundation is named for John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher whose writings inspired Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders.

The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)(3) research institute and is funded solely from voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations.