The North Carolina court system is $2.7 million in the red, including a $1.7 million overdue phone bill, the Raleigh News & Observer says. Phone service is not being cut off because the money is owed to another state agency.
The courts say the state budget office is responsible for their money troubles, because the office didn’t give the court system enough to pay its bills.
Last year, top court officials agreed with state budget officers that the courts could get by with $3 million less than budgeted. Instead, the budget office withheld $6 million, or about 2 percent of the $300 million court budget. “Every month, what we have to do is plead our case to get them to pay us what we should have,” a court official said. “We hope that’s not going to continue.”
The budget office withheld 5 percent of most agencies’ budgets. To pay its other bills, the court system didn’t pay travel reimbursements to employees in May or June.