The state House of Representatives approved HB491, which would repeal the authority for the state to take on debt not approved by voters. While voters are asked for permission to borrow money the state sometimes uses Certificates of Participation (COPS) to pay for construction projects, such as prisons, and voter approval is not required. Democrats said COPS were an important tool and it was sometimes difficult to get voter approval for projects voters wouldn’t see as “sexy.” Representative Bill Owens (D-Pasquotank) warned if this bill was approved there would be a move to prohibit local government from borrowing money under COPS. Representative George Cleveland said the State Treasurer had “sounded the alarm on our debt.” He called COPS easy money. “We’re not going to ask, but you’re going pay,” said Cleveland.
The bill goes to the Senate.