Local Politics

State still in red despite tax collections

Posted May 13, 2009 2:19 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina's general operating fund was almost $300 million in debt at the end of April, despite hefty tax collections during the month, the Office of the State Controller said Wednesday.

Tax revenue was off by $623 million, or 21 percent, from April 2008, and the lower cash balances trimmed investment earnings by $13.2 million when compared with the same month a year ago, officials said.

The declining revenue left the general fund with a negative balance of $284 million at the end of April, compared with a $1.2 billion surplus a year ago. At the end of March, the general fund was $1.3 billion in the red.

For the first four months of the year, tax revenues are down $1.7 billion, or 11 percent, from 2008. Investment earnings are down $98 million, or 47 percent, during that period.

Gov. Beverly Perdue last month signed an executive order freezing state spending and allowing her to tap various state trust funds to help pay North Carolina's day-to-day bills.

The Department of Revenue has been slow in issuing individual tax refunds to ease the state's cash crunch, but officials said they expect to clear the refund backlog by the end of May.