Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Civitas: Voter support for tapping Golden LEAF funds to balance NC budget

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / Feb 23 2011


Raleigh, N.C. - There is bipartisan support among North Carolina voters for using Golden LEAF’s $600 million in taxpayer funds to balance the state budget, according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

Fifty-six percent of voters said they would prefer the Legislature use the money to do such things as pay the state portion of the 2011 state employee retirement contribution and balance the budget.

Thirty-one percent said they would like legislators to leave the money with the Foundation so the Board of Directors can continue to grant money for economic development to local areas of the state. Four percent said other or none, and 8 percent said they do not know.

“The people of North Carolina elect legislators to spend state money. Golden LEAF members are unelected and unaccountable political appointees,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca. “Voters seem to agree that state dollars are better managed by those elected to handle that responsibility.”

Further examination reveals there is bipartisan support among voters for using the funds to balance the state’s budget. Republicans (62 percent use-26 percent leave), unaffiliated voters (58 percent use-31 percent leave), and Democratic voters (50 percent use-35 percent leave) all prefer the Legislature to use the funds to deal with the state’s budget problem rather than leave the money for continued economic grants.

“Utilizing Golden LEAF funds would help close the budget gap and protect state workers and programs from possibly even larger cuts,” added De Luca.

The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more information on Civitas polling see

Full text of question:

“The Golden LEAF Foundation has over $600 million in taxpayer funds in its account. Which of the following actions would you prefer the Legislature take with that money:”

Use that money to do things such as pay the state portion of the state employee retirement contribution for 2011 and balance the state budget – 56%

Leave the money with Golden Leaf so Foundation’s politically appointed 15 member Board of Directors can continue to grant money for economic development and local NC areas – 31%

Other/None – 4%

Don’t Know/Refused – 9%

Civitas Institute 100 South Harrington Street Raleigh, NC 27603