Smith and the recurring myth

By: - January 22, 2007 11:30 am

Senator Fred Smith is at it again, repeating the most often quoted myth about the budget passed by last year's General Assembly. The Goldsboro News-Argus quoted Smith in its legislative preview story Sunday.

"We should have a strategic plan," Smith said. "Last year, we had a $2.8 billion surplus and they used every bit of that up. This year we're looking at a shortfall. "That's no way to manage the people's money."

Smith knows that legislators did not use "every bit of that up." Last year's budget cut taxes by roughly $200 million and put $325 million in the state's saving account and set aside another $200 million for future repairs and renovations to state buildings. You can argue with the decisions the General Assembly made all you want, but it is simply not true to say that lawmakers spent all of last year's surplus. It may be fun to say on the campign trial, but it is factually incorrect and reporters need to start calling politicians on it. 

Check out other misleading claims made about the state budget by Smith in the latest "Setting the Record Straight" feature on

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066