05/05/04 — State finances in good shape, Moore says

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State finances in good shape, Moore says

By Don McLoud
Published in News on May 5, 2004 2:09 PM

State Treasurer Richard Moore says he's bullish on North Carolina government's financial condition.

He says the state doesn't have any extra money to spend, but he adds that its financial situation is better than any other state. The finances will continue to improve, he predicted.

"We stayed current in our obligations," he said, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Goldsboro Rotary Club. Meanwhile, other states went heavily into debt and are having to raise taxes.

Moore also said the pension funds for state and local government employees, which he oversees, are "more than 100 percent actuarially sound."

He said the pension funds are rated in the top 10 percent in the country and rated in the bottom 10 percent in risk.

He attributed some of this financial security to being awarded broader investment power by the Legislature. He said he was able to buy stocks during the downturn and sell bonds, now those stocks have gone up. "I don't think we would be in the shape we are today without that authority," he said.

During his tenure as the state treasurer, Moore has also received national recognition. He has been an advocate for reforming the mutual fund industry and was chosen to serve on the New York Stock Exchange Board to help rein in corporate abuse.

"Why do the mutual funds that charge the most fees do the worst?" Moore asked. He said that about 20 percent of the funds do not reveal all the fees they charge.

"In a prospectus, you won't find every penny charged," he said. "They must have an 'apples to apples' comparison and show you how much they charged."

Moore said that the average investor has a tough time. He said people must be disciplined and stay diversified in their investments.

Moore also took a moment to plug a book he has written called "Faces from the Flood," which was co-authored by Jay Barnes. It is a collection of personal accounts from people who were flooded after Hurricane Floyd.

Moore, a Democrat, is running again for re-election. He grew up in Granville County.

He was introduced by Rotarian Phil Baddour. Baddour served in the N.C. House with Moore. They both had high praise for each other's work for the state.