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Treasurer Janet Cowell Releases 2015 Debt Affordability Study

Raleigh, N.C. -- State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced today the results of the 2015 Debt Affordability Study, advising the Governor and the General Assembly on the estimated debt capacity of the General, Highway and Highway Trust Funds for the upcoming ten fiscal years.

The annual study, approved by the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, showed an improvement in debt capacity from the previous year. The General Fund has capacity of nearly $700 million for each of the next 10 years. The combined debt capacity of the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund is approximately $1 billion for the current fiscal year.

“This report demonstrates that North Carolina has maintained a conservative posture on debt and has the ability to responsibly invest in its future,” said Treasurer Cowell. “It also underscores the importance of protecting the State’s ‘AAA’ bond rating, which keeps the cost of financing projects low.”

Additionally, the Committee is charged with providing policy recommendations in alignment with the sound management of the State’s debt. The Committee emphasized centralized debt authorization, urging the General Assembly to adopt language restricting the ability of any State entity to enter into financial arrangements that incur debt or debt-like obligations. Other highlighted recommendations include the use of General Obligation Bonds as the preferred financing vehicle for the State’s capital projects.

The State’s “AAA” bond rating has been reaffirmed by all three major national rating agencies. Currently, all of the State’s debt ratios remain below the median levels for the State’s peer group composed of all ten states rated “AAA” by all three rating agencies.

The 2015 Debt Affordability Study was prepared by the staff of the State and Local Government Finance Division of the Department of State Treasurer and approved by the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, which was created by the General Assembly in 2004 and is chaired by Treasurer Cowell.

Other committee members are Lyons Gray, Secretary of Revenue; Linda Combs, State Controller; Lee Roberts, State Budget Director; Beth Wood, State Auditor; Frank Aikmus, Senate Appointee; Bradford Briner, Senate Appointee; Tom Turner, House Appointee; and Gene Chianelli, House Appointee.

View the 2015 Debt Affordability Study


The Department of State Treasurer’s State and Local Government Finance Division handles the sale and delivery of all State and local debt and monitors the repayment of State and local government debt. More information can be found at