- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina government leaders have better news about how much more the state could borrow and probably keep top grades from bond-rating houses.

The annual Debt Affordability Study released by State Treasurer Janet Cowell is designed to advise legislators and the governor as they make borrowing decisions.

The report says the state could issue $570 million in additional debt annually for the foreseeable future and keep annual debt service at or below 4 percent of state operating revenues - a key measurement for the study committee. Last year’s report didn’t provide as much new capacity.

The study also finds debt capacity for transportation projects has widened significantly since the legislature rescinded some toll road debt authority.

Executive branch leaders and legislative appointments comprise the study panel led by Cowell.

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