Open Budget

Learn more about how North Carolina spends tax dollars and other revenues to provide services to citizens. Follow the links below to explore state government budget and spending information.

Right Middle Child Paragraph
Right Child Paragraph

Frequently Asked Questions

Tab/Accordion Item

1.  What is NC OpenBudget?

In support of the North Carolina’s budget transparency initiative, NC OpenBudget is a budget transparency website that provides information on state government budget and spending. State budget, expenditures and payments have been shared online for citizens to search, download and analyze.

2.  What is the State of North Carolina’s budget transparency initiative?

The State of North Carolina’s budget transparency initiative is designed to provide information on budget expenditures for each State agency.

3.  What information is available on NC OpenBudget?

The data shared includes budgeted amounts and actual expenditures for each State agency supported by the State’s General Fund, the Highway Fund, and the Highway Trust Fund. Information is provided for both appropriated and receipt-supported expenditures. The data also provides information on payments to vendors and other recipients, such as local governments or nonprofits. This data is updated on a monthly basis.

The site also includes information on the Governor's Recommended budget. This data is provided at the time the Governor's budget is released and represents a snapshot at that point in time. Information reflects appropriations only. The data is not regularly updated. The final budget will be made available on the site once enacted by the General Assembly, at which point data on budget and spending will be updated on a monthly basis. 

Local government and public school data is currently available on the Local Government Commission website and the Department of Public Instruction’s website. Future releases will provide enhanced functionality for accessing local government and public school data.

4.  Is there any state spending that is not found on NC OpenBudget?

All General Fund supported spending that is appropriated by the General Assembly is contained in the website. Data is also provided for the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund. Data on other non-General Fund activity (e.g., Trust funds, Internal Service Funds) will be made available in a future release.

5.  Is personal information protected?

Some expenditure data may be considered private, confidential, or protected under state or federal law. Information appearing to be private, confidential, or protected by law may not be displayed. For such expenditures, you may contact the agency for more information, but please be advised that the Agency may be prohibited from releasing additional information.

6.  How is the data protection provided?

Some payment information has been excluded entirely for accounts used to make payments for purposes known to contain private information, such as public assistance payments, worker’s compensation claims, or legal settlement payments. In some cases, the payment information is provided, but the payee’s name has been replaced with a generic term in place of a specific individual’s name.

7.  What web browser should I use to best view the charts and graphs on NC OpenBudget?

The following web browsers are supported for viewing charts and graphs:

  • Google Chrome Version 15 and higher (32-bit version)
  • Internet Explorer Version 9 and higher (32-bit version)
  • Firefox Version 6 and higher (32-bit version)

Adobe Flash Player 11.1 or higher is required. A full list of general browser requirements are listed on the SAS 9.4 Support site.  The website is optimized for a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixels or higher.

8.  How do I learn about terms used on this site?

Please visit the Budget Glossary.

9.  Who is responsible for the governance and maintenance of the data and site?        

The Office of State Budget and Management is the lead agency responsible for the site and works in partnership with the Department of Information Technology to develop and maintain the site.

10.  Will improvements be made to NC OpenBudget in the future?

Yes. There are planned enhancements and additions that will be rolled out in a phased manner. User feedback will be reviewed and used to inform other potential enhancements or improvements. 

Visit the Contact Us section to access the forms for requesting data and/or for making a suggestion.

11.  How do I make an Access to Information Request if I can't find the information I'm looking for?

For information on submitting a public records request, visit the webpage for the agency source of record:

1.  Where does the budget expenditure data come from?

State spending data comes from the North Carolina Accounting System (NCAS), which is the state’s accounting system. The Governor's recommended budget data comes from the Office of State Budget and Management and the Integrated Budget Information System (IBIS)

Local government and public school data is provided by local governments and schools via the Local Government Commission and the Department of Public Instruction.

2.  What reports are available on this site?

Currently, the site includes a State Budget and Spending Report, which can be viewed by Committee, Agency, Budget Code, Fund Code or Account. Data is available for the last four fiscal years, including the current fiscal year to date.

The site also includes reports on the Governor's recommended budget, including a high-level overview, information on recommended changes, and historical trends. The data is presented thematically and can be filtered by Agency, Budget Code, and Fund Code.

Additional reports and functionality will continue to be added to the site. 

3.  How often is the expenditure data updated?

State spending posted on NC OpenBudget is updated monthly. There is a two-month lag in the data to allow time for all monthly activity to post and to ensure the month is closed before the data is added to the site.

4.  I found a negative value for an amount paid.  How is that possible?

A negative value would reflect a revenue source to the selected agency, most likely a returned payment or accounting correction.

5.  Where can I find more information about the data?

Each of the charts and graphs has a help button you can click on for more information.

1.  Wherecan I find an overview of the budget process?

The budget process for North Carolina is available at the OSBM website.

2.  For what time period is information reported?

State budget and expenditure data presented on NC OpenBudget is based on the State’s fiscal year (FY), which begins on July 1st. For example, FY22 is the period between July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Data is currently provided for the last four fiscal years, including activity to date for the current fiscal year (FY22).

 

Tips for Using This Site

Searching and Downloading

1.  Can I search expenditure data?

Yes. Search expenditure data by keyword.

2.  Where can I search awarded state contracts?

For agency contracts, visit the NC Open Budget.

For state term contracts, visit the State of North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract website.

3.  Can I do a bulk download of a year's worth of expenditures?

Yes. Download a .csv file of prior fiscal year data.

4.  How long will it take for me to download a .csv file of expenditure data?

The size of the file and your internet connection will determine the speed your file downloads.

1.  Can I view the charts and graphs from a tablet or mobile devices?

Yes. SAS Visual Analytics Mobile Clients (SAS Mobile BI) are available for Apple and Android devices via free downloads from app stores.
Detail from each is available at: 
Apple:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sas-mobile-bi/id511030524?mt=8
Android:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sas.android.bimobile

1.  Can I print the charts and graphs?

Yes. All data contained in the website may be exported in a .pdf file. Right-click on a chart then select the option to export as PDF.  Or, right-click on a chart and select the option to export the image.

2.  Can I export the expenditure data found on NC OpenBudget to an Excel spreadsheet?

Yes. All data contained in the website may be exported in an Excel file. Right-click on a chart and select the option to export the data.

3.  Can I export filtered charts and graphs?

Yes. You can filter the information in the charts and graphs and export the filtered data as Excel, PDF, or image. 

4.  Can I view the graphs in full screen?

If you are working with charts and graphs, you can use the full-screen option to view them in full screen. The option will appear when you click on the chart.

5.  Can I use the browser back button to navigate from charts and graphs to a previous web page?

If you are working within the charts and graphs, you can use the embedded back button/menu to go back to a previous screen. 

 

The analytics used on this site have been tested against the accessibility standards for electronic information technology that were adopted by the U.S. Government under Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It was also tested against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 levels A and AA, part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). More information about accessibility features are listed on the  SAS VA 7.3 support  site.

  • Account – Description of the purpose of an expenditure or the type of revenues received as defined in the State Chart of Accounts (e.g., salaries and wages, purchased contractual services, license fees, etc.). 
  • Agency – North Carolina State Government Agencies
  • Appropriations – State funds drawn from the General Fund to support an expenditure by a State agency.
  • Budget Code – A code assigned by the Office of State Budget and Management for budgetary reporting purposes. The budget code identifies the fund type (General Fund, Highway Fund, etc.) and the entity. Most agencies have one General Fund Budget Code. For some larger agencies, the Budget Code represents different divisions or major organizational units of the agency.
  • Budget Type – For the purposes of this site, budget type refers to the version of the budget data. There are three types:
    • Certified Budget (Budget) – The original budget enacted by the General Assembly as specified in the Appropriations Act and accompanying Committee Report. The Certified budget also reflects adjustments specified in statute, such as distributions to State agencies from reserves appropriated by the General Assembly, and organizational or budget changes directed by the General Assembly but left to the Director to carry out.
    • Authorized Budget (Adjusted Budget) – The Certified Budget with changes authorized by the Director of the Budget through authority granted in the State Budget Act or other statutes. Examples of authorized changes include budgeting new receipts, realigning across accounts within a fund purpose, or realigning lapsed salary for one-time operational costs.
    • Actuals  – Represents the actual amounts expended or received by the State.
  • Committee – North Carolina General Assembly Appropriations Committees. Committees are structured around the major areas of the State Budget, including Education, Health and Human Services, Justice and Public Safety, Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources, General Government, and Transportation.
  • Expenditures – State spending from all sources, including General Fund appropriations and receipts from other sources (e.g., Federal or private grants, fees, sales, etc.).
  • Fiscal Year - The State’s fiscal year (FY), which begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The Fiscal year number corresponds to the year in which the period ends. For example, FY22 is the period between July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Data is currently provided for the last four fiscal years, including activity to date for the current fiscal year (FY22).
  • Fund Code –  A Fund Code delineates funds designated for a specific purpose or program within an agency. Fund Codes are a subset of the Budget Code.
  • Fund Type -
    • General Fund - Accounts for all financial resources that are not restricted to specific purposes or otherwise required to be accounted for in another fund. NCOpenBudget includes all General Fund activity.
    • Infrastructure (Select Non-General Funds) – Non-General Funds account for financial resources that are restricted by law or contractual agreement to specific purposes. NCOpenBudget currently includes Non-General Fund activity for the Department of Transportation (Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund) and the Department of Information Technology.
  • Major Category of Spending – Summary level account information for expenditures and receipts (e.g., personal services; purchased services; property, plant and equipment; fees, licenses and fines).
  • Payee – A recipient of a payment made by the state (e.g., payments to vendors for goods or services, public aid disbursements to local governments and nonprofits, reimbursements to employees, etc.).
  • Payment – Amount expended to a payee.
  • Receipts - Fees, licenses, federal funds, grants, fines, penalties, tuition, and other similar collections or credits generated by State agencies in the course of performing their governmental functions that are not defined as tax proceeds or nontax revenues.

For details about the Budget Cycle Process