A Debt Surprise

The State Treasurer’s office just shined a spotlight on a shocking problem: North Carolina local governments have piled up $7.6 billion in debt – a debt almost no one knew about. How did that happen?

Here’s one example: Local politicians promised to pay for government employees’ healthcare – even after the employee stopped working. Or took another job. How many businesses can afford to do that?

The local news media barely mentioned that $7.6 billion debt – and neither did politicians. So you have to wonder: How many taxpayers know they’re on the hook for $7.6 billion? And how many government employees know the promise they got – to pay for their healthcare – wasn’t funded? For that matter, how many people can even imagine how big a $1 billion debt is?

Dare County has 40,000 citizens and an unfunded debt of $164 million. So every person living in Dare County, whether they’re one month old or over 70 years old, owes $4100.  That doesn’t lead to a happy ending.

Inflation, grocery store prices, gas prices, federal debt, state debt, local government debt all tie together. They’re pieces of the same puzzle. And we just learned North Carolinians owe $7.6 billion in debt hardly a soul knew about. Is it any wonder most folks think we’re headed in the wrong direction?