ATLANTA - North Carolina lawmakers have approved a roughly $22 billion budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which includes almost $900 million of borrowing.

The final budget bill was approved on Tuesday and it now awaits Gov. Michael Easley's signature. The state's fiscal year began on July 1.

The debt that will be issued will be for several construction projects throughout the state. They include upgrades to buildings on campuses of the University of North Carolina. In addition, the health and human services division could receive about $185 million to make improvements to state facilities, according to the appropriations bill.

Funding university, health and human services projects, and prisons have been endeavors championed by Easley.

State Treasurer Richard Moore says North Carolina is well positioned to handle the additional debt load in the coming years. In fact, he's said it could issue up to $384 million of debt in each of the next 10 years. The amount is up from the $214.4 million Moore recommended two years ago.

North Carolina has benefited from low interest rates and strong revenue growth.

The state is rated triple-A by all three major rating agencies.

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