There has been a lot of talk in political and government circles about the expected surplus of $400 million when the state budget year ends on June 30.
There are two other positive numbers not as widely known:
▪ $270 million is expected to go unspent in the current budget.
▪ $186 million is expected to be unspent in a Medicaid risk reserve fund.
That $456 million is on top of the forecast surplus, which is the result of stronger-than-expected growth in incomes and capital gains from the sale of stocks and real estate.
By law, half of a surplus is supposed to be split into a savings reserve fund and a separate repair and renovations reserve fund.
The state is also predicting stronger growth than initially expected in the budget that is being written and will begin July 1.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Tim Moore said in an interview with The Insider that an across-the-board pay raise for state employees – one with meaning – is now on the table.
“We are looking at state employee raises – I don’t know what the amount will be,” Moore said. “The key is to try to find a way, whenever you deal with pay raises, so that it’s meaningful. So that it’s a meaningful raise and at the same time something that you can afford.”
He said that raises may need to target certain areas where the state is having difficulty hiring.