State: Tax revenue down $1.1B this year
North Carolina collected $1.1 billion less in taxes through the end of March than it did during the first three months of 2008, the Office of the State Controller said Friday.
The difference in tax revenue amounted to an 8.5 percent decline this year, but the lower cash balances also shaved $85 million, or 45 percent, off the state's investment earnings during the first three months of this year, officials said.
During March, tax revenues were off by 19 percent, or $254 million, from a year ago.
The state's general operating fund was $1.3 billion in the red as of March 31, almost double the $681 million deficit it showed at the end of February. A year ago, the general fund had $213 million in reserve.
North Carolina traditionally faces low cash flow leading up to April 15. The state’s cash position was also dented this year because final corporate income tax payments are due April 15 instead of March 15, officials said.
The Department of Revenue has been slow in issuing individual tax refunds to ease the cash crunch, but officials said they expect to clear the refund backlog by the end of May.