North Carolina budget surplus now predicted at $550M

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NC Money

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on North Carolina state government’s fiscal picture (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

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New numbers from the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration predict tax collections will be $552 million higher than what is needed to carry out the current state budget when the fiscal year ends June 30.

House and Senate Republican leaders trumpeted the surplus figure Thursday, and Cooper also said in a release growing revenue projections were welcome news.

The amount is 2.5 percent above this year’s $22 billion budget. The updated revenue projections serve as the basis for the governor and lawmakers as they begin writing up their budget proposals for the next two years through mid-2019. The surplus means more funds also can be anticipated in those two years.

Cooper has said he anticipates rolling out his budget proposal for legislators in the coming weeks.

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2:25 p.m.

North Carolina’s fund to cover big budget shortfalls and other emergencies is pretty flush right now. Now, many lawmakers want a streamlined process of giving to and taking from its coffers to ensure it stays full.

Legislation recommended by a General Assembly study group got approval Thursday from the House’s budget-writing committee.

The measure would require the state budget put money equal to 15 percent of predicted revenue growth into the saving reserve annually. The bill also requires two-thirds votes if lawmakers want to spend a lot of reserve funds or want to use reserves for something other than fiscal emergencies or court orders.

The saving reserve is currently just under $1.5 billion after $100 million went to Hurricane Matthew relief.

The bill’s next stop is the full House.

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