Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday asked all state government leaders to slow spending in the final three months of the fiscal year, but he stopped short of ordering a spending freeze, as has happened several times in recent years.
“North Carolina’s balance sheet is in pretty good shape,” McCrory said in a statement. “I want to keep it that way, so I am requesting the Council of State, cabinet secretaries, agency heads and the judiciary to keep a tight hand on the taxpayer’s purse.”
In a memo sent to agency heads, he asked that purchases be limited to essential goods and services. He also requested that travel be reduced and that salary increases, outside of those already approved by the Salary Adjustment Fund, be limited.
Revenue collections are slightly ahead of what they were a year ago, and the state has an unreserved fund balance of $770.7 million through March 26, which is 76 percent higher than what it was a year ago, officials said.
McCrory noted, however, that projections of Medicaid spending are foggy. On Wednesday, state Department of Health and Human Services officials said Medicaid spending this year likely would be about $130 million over budget, but potential claims by tens of thousands of backlogged Medicaid applicants, delayed or erroneous cuts to the state's benefit program and thousands of provider claims stuck in the billing system make it difficult to obtain a more precise forecast.
House Speaker Thom Tillis called McCrory's requests prudent and fiscally responsible.
"We are pleased that the balance sheet is moving in the right direction and that steps are being taken to ensure that remains the case," Tillis said in a statement.