Easley Says 3 Percent Reduction May Be Necessary

Gov. Mike Easley says state agencies may have to dig a little deeper soon given the uncertain economy.

Easley said Tuesday he may order agencies soon to reduce their budgets by 3 percent.

The governor ordered a 2 percent cut last month to provide additional cash reserves should this year's budget shortfall widen. The earlier order didn't apply to public education, Medicaid and student financial aid.

Easley says he'd likely make a decision later this week.

Tax collections were as much as $70 million below projections through August. September figures aren't yet in.

Easley said he's ordering cutbacks early in the fiscal year so that they won't be that painful -- or necessary -- when his successor takes office in January.

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