Local/State

State agencies submit spending cuts

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

State agencies are submitting plans to Governor McCrory spelling out how they can save money.

Earlier this year, an audit revealed a roughly $250 million financial shortfall in the Medicaid program.

To patch the hole, the governor froze state salaries where he could, limited travel, and held purchases to a bare minimum. McCrory asked for plans, in writing, for how other savings could be found from other state agencies. Those plans were due Monday.

The Department of Agriculture was among the first to send in its plans. The department submitted a spreadsheet of money already saved, totaling more than $250,000.

"In some ways, we're getting creative in trying to meet our needs but at the same time save money. In other ways it is putting off until tomorrow instead of paying for something today," said Department of Agriculture spokesman Brian Long.

Long said some of the department's savings came by delaying the purchase of new equipment, delaying the repair of old equipment, and not hiring some temporary workers as planned.

But Long's concern is that putting things off can create problems in the future.

"Are we replacing two next year instead of one and what does that do? What is that going to do to next year's budget, right?" Long asked.

The State Auditor's office also submitted their spending cuts Monday. They found savings by foregoing a staff retreat in Raleigh. Auditor Beth Wood will also skip an annual industry conference.

The governor wants cost-cutting plans submitted each month.

"We're going to continue to look for savings where we can, but it's just too early to know how successful we'll be down the road," Long said.

ABC11 only heard back from a few agencies Monday. Some said they were not finished with their plans and others said they wouldn't share their cuts until the governor had a chance to look over them.

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pat mccrory, local/state, jon camp
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