BRADENTON, Fla. - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has sent the Legislature his recommendation for the upcoming two-year budget cycle, including up to $2.8 billion in bonds to finance transportation and other capital needs.
McCrory said his spending plans, sent to lawmakers March 5, are balanced and based on no new taxes.
For fiscal 2016, he allocates $50.9 billion, a decrease of 1.2% over the current year. For 2017, the total is $51.77 billion. The general fund portion is $21.5 billion for 2016 and $22.2 billion for 2017.
The amounts are based on projected revenue increases of 3.4% in the upcoming fiscal year and 3.8% in new revenue for 2017.
McCrory wants lawmakers to appropriate an additional $47 million to bring the savings reserve account, also known as the rainy day fund, to $698 million to "support our position as one of only 10 states with a triple-A bond rating from all three major rating agencies."
In addition, other statewide reserve accounts would be set at $79 million in 2016 and $474 million in 2017 under his plan. These reserves are for Medicaid, salaries, and actuarial adjustments to state health and retirement plans.
"This budget recommits us to the basic values that make our state great," McCrory said. "When we unleash our potential in education, transportation, energy, and technology, and commit to greater government efficiency and affordability, North Carolina will be second to none."
McCrory included $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion in revenue bonds for transportation improvements and $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion in general obligation bonds for new and renovation building projects for the National Guard, community colleges, and other agencies.
"This financing, achieved at historically low interest rates, will help improve safety and increase productivity while saving taxpayer money," he said.
He proposed $4.8 billion as the budget for the state Department of Transportation, which assumes a cut in the gasoline tax to 35 cents per gallon from 37.5 cents.
The Senate already passed SB 20, which implements adjustments that stabilize and increase gas tax collections.
However, the House on March 5 passed an amended bill that modified the tax rate to collect lower revenues. The two chambers must now iron out differences.