As reported by The Insider, a state government subscription news service, preliminary details about the fiscal condition of the coming 2010-11 fiscal year budget for North Carolina are not encouraging:
(Senate Majority Leader) Martin Nesbitt said the budget cutting would be less steep than approved last year. But he added that legislators have fewer options of where to cut and fewer reserves to help close a 2010-11 budget gap estimated at more than $1 billion. Budget subcommittees and agency heads are being asked to look at cuts in the 3-, 5- and 7-percent range. Officials from various agencies told legislative budget writers that they had met Perdue’s 5-percent budget reduction targets for the current fiscal year, in part, by delaying hiring.
Other budgetary concerns include a projected $500 million shortfall in the current year’s budget – including about $250 million in Medicaid expenses above budgeted appropriations. Medicaid expenses are being projected at this time to exceed 2010-11 budgeted expenditures by $500 million. It will be interesting to see how budget writers cope with the new estimates.
In regards to federal stimulus dollars, roughly $1 billion will be available to help balance the state budget for 2010-11, down from the $1.8 billion in federal stimulus funds in the current fiscal year’s budget. In a conversation with Fiscal Research yesterday, I was told that updated revenue projections for 2010-11 should be ready in the next few days.
The General Assembly has an ambitious timetable for approving the budget this session – the Governor is slated to release her recommended budget on April 20, with first the Senate and then the House crafting their budgets by June 10. From there, the conference committee would have until the end of June to approve a final budget before the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Hold on tight, its going to be another bumpy ride.