The Brookings Plan was a collection of reforms proposed by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank. Searching for economic solutions to the state’s financial problems, Governor O. Max Gardner commissioned the plan shortly after the onset of the Great Depression.
The Great Depression threatened to bankrupt North Carolina. Tax revenues had collapsed, leaving the government unable to pay for basic services. To solve this problem, Governor Gardner asked the Brookings Institution in the summer of 1930 for advice on how “to promote increased efficiency and economy in the conduct of the governmental affairs of the State.” In December 1930, the institution published the results of its study. The final report was distributed to legislators, journalists, and other interested parties around the state.