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RALEIGH — North Carolina courts have again weighed in on how far a governor can go to balance the state’s budget. The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday former Gov. Mike Easley was wrong to take $80 million from a dedicated road-building fund to reduce the state’s operating shortfall eight years ago. Judge Robert Hunter of Morehead City wrote for the majority that a governor can’t transfer money from one fund to another without legislative approval. Judge Linda McGee argued in a dissenting opinion that such a narrow interpretation of the state constitution would hamstring governors from acting quickly to plug a deficit. State courts have heard two similar cases recently involving how Easley managed the budget shortfall this decade. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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