State Treasurer Janet Cowell on Wednesday released North Carolina's 2016 Debt Affordability Study, which assesses the government's ability to issue debt for capital projects over the next decade.
The state's revenue picture is "positive overall, reflecting a continued economic recovery," the report said. The General Fund, the state's main funding source for operations, has a debt capacity of $210 million for each of the next 10 years. The combined debt capacity of the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund is about $1.131 billion for the current fiscal year, the study showed.
The analysis incorporates the proposed issuance of a $2 billion bond package, which voters will decide in the March 15 primary.
"Our findings demonstrate that North Carolina has maintained a conservative posture on debt and has the ability to responsibly invest in its future — and keep the 'AAA' bond ratings if the Connect NC bonds are approved," Cowell said in a news release.
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The study was prepared by the treasurer's office and approved by the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, which was created by the General Assembly in 2004 and is chaired by Cowell.
The committee also made recommendations on how to best manage the state's debt. They include continued replenishment of reserve funds, which helps maintain strong bond ratings, as well as using general obligation bonds as the preferred, but not exclusive, financing vehicle for capital projects.
The study is available here.