Two of North Carolina’s major cities are among a dozen of the nation's 75 most populous cities with a financial surplus, according to a new report.
Charlotte ranked third and Raleigh ranked 11th in the Truth in Accounting’s new Financial State of the Cities report released last week.
A surplus occurs when income or revenue exceeds expenditures. Truth in Accounting based its analysis on data from fiscal year 2018 audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports on file in 75 city halls.
“Cities with a taxpayer surplus have demonstrated political leadership that values honesty, sustainability and financial responsibility,” TIA founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg said. “We need more city and state governments to use good accounting practices to truly balance their budgets.”
Charlotte and Raleigh earned a "B" grade for their financial standing from Truth in Accounting. Charlotte has a surplus of $902.8 million, and Raleigh has a surplus of $204.6 million.
Charlotte has a population of 872,498, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. It holds about $2.6 billion in assets to cover its expenses of $1.7 billion.
Adjusted for inflation, the city has $3,400 per taxpayer available in surplus funds. Charlotte has been able to maintain the same surplus amount that it did last year, according to TIA’s 2017 figures.
Raleigh's finances have improved from last year's report, when the city had a surplus of $79.9 million, about $600 per taxpayer. Raleigh now has $938.4 million in assets and $733.7 in expenses. With a population of 469,298, the city has $1,400 available for each taxpayer when adjusted for inflation.
Cities earned a "B" if their taxpayer surplus was between $100 and $10,000 per taxpayer. A surplus of more than $10,000 would have earned an "A" grade. Twelve cities received a "B," and no cities received a "A." North Carolina, California and Texas were the only states with more than one city in the top 12 financial positions, according to the report.
Only Irvine, California, and Washington, D.C., ranked ahead of Charlotte. The bottom five cities were New York, Chicago, Honolulu, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Findings from North Carolina’s 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports leave the state with a $4 billion shortfall. However, state fiscal analysts have reported that revenue collections for the 2018-19 fiscal year led to an $896.7 million surplus.
Republican lawmakers have proposed issuing tax refund checks to residents of $125 to $250.