Patrick McHugh

Patrick McHugh is the research manager at the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center. Learn more at


NC schools are struggling to survive while rich people and corporations keep getting tax cuts

By: - February 27, 2023

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly started cutting taxes (mostly for big corporations and wealthy people). Most years since have seen lawmakers continue to divert public funds from things like schools, childcare, broadband, water quality, and public safety, to the pockets of out-of-state corporations and the wealthy few. These cuts also put more of […]

NC continues to gain jobs, but is losing state employees over pay that isn’t keeping up with inflation

By: and - November 21, 2022

State labor market data released Friday shows that the economic recovery jumpstarted by federal aid continued through October in North Carolina. North Carolina has added jobs every month over the past year, and the state now has more than 200,000 additional jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic. On average over the past six months, we’ve […]


US history lesson: Taxes on rich people helped to beat inflation (and win World War II)

By: - October 6, 2022

North Carolina lawmakers should learn from past national experience and rethink state's fiscal policies Did you know progressive taxes helped beat Hitler? If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s worth looking back at how taxes helped tackle inflation during WWII and what lessons NC leaders still need to draw from that bit of economic history.

What it takes to make ends meet in each North Carolina county

By: - May 5, 2022

The 2022 Living Income Standard soars to new heights When COVID-19 arrived, few (if any) pundits predicted inflation would become one of the most fretted-over issues in 2022, but here we are. Supply chain disruptions, pent-up demand, war in Ukraine, and myriad other factors have made it harder and harder for many working families to make ends meet.


Local job data: Nearly 75% of NC counties still have fewer people working than pre-pandemic

By: - February 3, 2022

The last local jobs report for 2021 is in. Significant strides toward recovery were made, but true economic healing has still not been realized in many communities across North Carolina. Several rounds of federal aid have helped families navigate tough times and made the recovery from the COVID-19 recession much faster than we saw in […]


The economy in 2022: What will happen? What should happen?

By: - February 1, 2022

Predicting the future is messy business even in the most stable of times, and whatever you want to say about the current moment, stability certainly isn’t in these days. That’s why we’re not going to join the ranks of economists putting out forecasts in January. But that doesn’t mean we no sense of what some […]


It’s time to use the state budget to fix North Carolina’s leaky roof

By: - September 11, 2021

Years ago, a traveling salesman was stuck outside in a thunderstorm, miles from the nearest town. At the next house he came to, a man was standing in the door watching the rain pour. The salesman walked up and asked whether he might be able to stay the night while the storm passed. “Well,” the […]


About that labor “shortage” – Look to wave of retirements, not government aid to understand

By: - August 8, 2021

For all the discussion about what’s making it hard for people to return to the labor force – lack of child care, transportation, housing, training, etc. – a major story that hasn’t received nearly enough attention is how the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed a huge number of North Carolinians into retirement.  A lot of politicians […]

North Carolina ain’t broke (financially), so now let’s fix it – New revenue data show NCGA has a choice: help people or corporations?

By: - June 16, 2021

North Carolina has the funds to invest in a just recovery. An updated assessment of state revenues shows collections have come in stronger than previously expected over the past year and continued growth should provide some of the resources needed to dig out of the COVID-19 hole.  First the numbers. North Carolina is on track […]


Lost jobs in January highlight the importance of the federal rescue plan

By: - March 16, 2021

Preliminary labor market figures for January underscore why the American Rescue Plan signed into law last week was so vitally needed. After months of slow recovery and a holiday spike in COVID-19 cases, North Carolina lost over 3,000 jobs in January, a clear sign our recovery is far from complete. The relief plan provides the […]

COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the incomes of low-wage workers

By: - March 2, 2021

For many well-off North Carolinians, however, the recession ended long ago Almost a year on after the arrival of COVID-19, hundreds of thousands of our state’s worst-paid workers still can’t find a job even as the recession is effectively over for some of the high-wage industries in North Carolina. Anyone who’s been paying any attention […]


Carrying the torch: Today’s fight for justice is built on generations of struggle in NC

By: - February 16, 2021

Horror and heroism often walk side-by-side. For every insurrectionist who attacked the U.S. Capitol last month, many more lifted their voices against racism and police violence in streets across our country. For every leader sowing false doubts about the 2020 results, droves of dedicated election workers tended to an honest vote. Amid every tweet downplaying […]