• 61°

Debt report says North Carolina government has more borrowing capacity

By Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press

The North Carolina government’s ability to borrow money while remaining fiscally sound keeps improving despite the economic challenges from the coronavirus, according to an annual report released Tuesday.

The Debt Affordability Study calculates how much additional debt the state can incur and remain within self-imposed limits that the study committee believes will ensure the state retains top scores from credit-rating agencies. The triple-A ratings keep borrowing costs low.

The report projects the state could approve $3.22 billion in bonds this year — or $1.46 billion annually for the next five years — and remain below an overall debt-to-revenue ratio goal. That compares to debt capacity of $2.04 billion in 2020 in last year’s report, or $1.1 billion annually over five years.

The expanding debt capacity could help Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and legislators from both parties build the case to place a multibillion-dollar bond referendum on the ballot soon for schools, building construction and other infrastructure.

North Carolina’s revenue growth projections over the next decade won’t be as harmed as initially feared from early economic activity declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report’s authors. May 2020 projections had warned $4.2 billion less revenue than earlier calculated through mid-2021. But state economists said last month that decline will essentially evaporate as tax collections roar back this fiscal year.

The nine-member study committee is led by State Treasurer Dale Folwell, whose office released the report. Other members include State Budget Director Charlie Perusse, State Auditor Beth Wood, State Controller Linda Combs and Revenue Secretary Ron Penny.

The report repeated calculations from the 2020 study that there is no additional debt capacity for transportation projects in the near future. Spending on transportation debt is expected to grow as the state continues to borrow money for road-building, as permitted in a 2018 law authorizing up to $3 billion in debt.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

News

Recovery & Resilience town hall set for May

Business

Downtown Books to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day

News

Dare commissioners meet Monday

Crime

North Carolina man convicted of firearm charge, faces up to 120 months in prison

Lifestyles

Virginia Tillett recognized for dedication and leadership

Business

Merchant’s PACT hires payments industry leader from Currituck as chief business development officer

News

North Carolina Supreme Court: Landlord not liable for injuries caused by tenants’ dog

News

Dare commissioners advance Avon beach nourishment project

News

Duck approves Scarborough Lane Shoppes restaurant request, recognizes employees

Hyde

Venison breakfast sausage class set

Crime

North Carolina woman arrested for multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering

Lifestyles

Medicaid education events set in Manteo and Buxton

News

North Carolina emergency response director Mike Sprayberry to retire

Business

Bill seeks to give additional state tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

News

North Carolina unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

News

North Carolina judge suspended for violating conduct code

News

Fatality reported in Southern Shores incident involving pedestrian and motor vehicle

News

Cooper and Cohen tour Kill Devil Hills vaccine clinic

Lifestyles

High school seniors honored with NCCF Coastal Stewardship Awards announced

News

Mega Millions ticket sold online in North Carolina wins $1 million prize

News

NC State researchers predict 2021 hurricane season will be active

Crime

FBI increases reward for information on deaths of three women in North Carolina

Crime

Former Ft. Bragg private sentenced to over 12 years in prison after taking minor across state lines in fake kidnapping

News

Construction accident at old Bonner Bridge demolition site results in death