State News

Perdue extends spending restrictions

Posted July 24, 2009 2:50 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2009 3:21 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue says she'll keep purchase, travel and hiring restrictions in place for North Carolina's government while lawmakers work out a budget plan.

Perdue signed an executive order Friday that essentially extends belt-tightening from last fiscal year to the current year that started July 1.

“Until a budget is signed, this order will ensure that North Carolina maintains a balanced budget and that state agencies continue to follow the strict spending guidelines in place during the previous fiscal year,” she said in a statement.

Lawmakers thought they were close to a budget deal this week after House and Senate Democrats agreed to a tax plan that would raise $982 million in extra revenue. The deal collapsed Thursday after Perdue objected to a provision that would add a surcharge to individuals and businesses that still owed state income tax at the end of the year.

Senate budget negotiators said it's now likely North Carolina won't have a budget agreement for several weeks.

Perdue's executive order directs nearly all the spending restrictions that her budget director set out in an April memorandum through June 30 to stay in place.

Money will be given to state agencies only for mandatory obligations, such as salaries, debt service and utilities. Vacant positions can't be filled, and employee travel using state money is restricted.

There are some exceptions for public safety and welfare and direct classroom instructional expenses.