Lack of Funds, or Mismanagement, at DHHS? | Eastern North Carolina Now

Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.

    The N&O is reporting on what appears to be significant layoffs in North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, due to the state budget "stalemate."

    After more than 150 IT contract workers lost their jobs at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services over the state budget stalemate, remaining staff in their office are operating at "Just keep the lights on" mode, according to an internal memo obtained by the News & Observer.

    Sounds like the lack of an official state budget is hitting DHHS hard, with their funding being cut to the bone, right?

    But as I wrote last week, there is a spending plan funding state budget operations, albeit not an official 'budget bill.' This continuation budget - supplemented by increased agency baseline budgets and several "mini-budgets" - is slated to spend 96.9 percent of what Gov. Cooper himself proposed.

    More specifically, however, we can see that DHHS is not hurting for money this fiscal year. Data from the State Controller's office shows that in fact, for the first six months of the current fiscal year, DHHS has spent nearly 12 percent more than the first six months of last fiscal year, good for a nearly $300 million increase.

    With a 12 percent hike in spending year over year, it appears DHHS's problems are not so much a lack of funding, but perhaps a mismanagement of those funds.
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