A Washington Post profile of Art Pope, political donor and now budget director of North Carolina, finds a flaw in his fiscal management:
For all of his pull, the revolution Pope helped set in motion is not going quite as planned. The tax overhaul, styled in part off ideas promoted by Pope‐backed groups, has contributed to tight finances in North Carolina at a time when other states are flush with cash.
Is that bad? Fiscal conservatives such as Pope just might think that budgetary constraints are a good thing, perhaps especially when revenues would otherwise be rising, leading to profligacy. State governments have a tendency to overspend when the economy booms, and then face difficult adjustments in downturns. Limits on overspending, whether constitutional constraints or tax reductions, should be seen as a feature, not a bug, in state fiscal systems.
By the way, this Post profile of Pope, who is a contributor to the Cato Institute, is not exactly positive, but it’s nothing like Jane Mayer’s 2011 profile in the New Yorker, which I dubbed “Snidely Whiplash in North Carolina.”