Seven states suffer from weak governance, according to a report released last week by credit-rating agency Moody’s Investor Service. What earned those states - Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin - the less than ringing endorsement from Moody’s was their failure to pass a full-year budget before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Moody’s noted that some of the states have “continuing appropriation bills” that allow spending until a full budget is enacted, making it less likely those states will miss debt payments.

“Nonetheless, late budgets are a sign of governance weakness which, in extreme cases, can be negative for state credit quality,” Moody’s said. “Late budgets can also expose local governments and other downstream entities to an interruption in state payment.”

In two of the seven states, budgets were vetoed. Moody’s said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) rejected the budget passed by the state’s GOP-led General Assembly because it didn’t provide enough funding for Medicaid expansion and teacher pay, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) refused the budget passed by that state’s Democrat-controlled legislature because it rolled back some business tax cuts to provide more funding for education.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), meanwhile, simply hadn’t taken action on the budget she received from lawmakers on June 30. Raimondo spokesman Josh Block said the governor’s staff was still reviewing the spending plan, but he also acknowledged the governor was concerned about a provision in the budget bill allowing the state’s controller to refuse to “authorize payments for additional staff, contracts, or purchases for any department or agency not projected to end a fiscal year within amounts appropriated unless necessitated by immediate health and safety reasons.”

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (R) and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (R) said that provision was a “direct response to a growing frustration among legislators and the general public regarding the Administration’s lack of adherence to the budgets duly authorized by the General Assembly. (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, LEXISNEXIS STATE NET)