The governor announced yesterday she is seizing the entire $787 million balance in the state's Rainy Day Fund:
Gov. Beverly Perdue seized North Carolina's emergency "rainy day fund" Wednesday to help keep state government financially afloat during the weakening economy.
Perdue said she was taking the $787 million pot that is usually reserved for handling hurricanes and other crises. The Democratic governor said she would use $250 million of the fund to help prop up the state employees health plan and reserve the rest to make sure the state could meet its obligations.
Of course, the $787 million is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the major deficits the state is facing now and in the near future. But lawmakers had ample opportunity over the last several years to more aggressively pad the Rainy Day Fund. In fact, during the five years from fy 2003-4 to fy 2007-8, the state raked in $3.1 billion in surplus revenue.
But of course, our wise leaders in Raleigh decided to skip the fiscally-prudent course of setting aside surplus revenue into the rainy day fund in favor of buying votes by directing tax dollars to pet projects favored by special interests investing in the future of our state.
Rest assured state lawmakers will learn a valuable lesson and going forward opt to save more of the surplus revenue they receive during flush economic times to be better prepared for a rainy day. Right?