State News

N.C. budget is slightly ahead thanks to windfall

Posted January 19, 2010 3:59 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2010 6:27 p.m. EST

State budget

— North Carolina's one-time windfall from corporate taxpayers has canceled out for now otherwise poor revenue collections due to the weak economy.

The legislature's top economist said in a report issued Tuesday that the state has taken in $30 million more than projected to cover the state's $19 billion budget for the first half of the fiscal year, through Dec. 31.

Barry Boardman said the state is in the black for now because the Revenue Department collected $277 million more than expected by resolving disputes with more than 200 companies over back taxes. Officials expected to net $150 million from the effort but wound up taking in $427 million.

The extra funds hide otherwise tepid sales and income tax collections. Data so far show sales taxes didn't rebound during the holidays, he said, noting lagging tax collections would have the state in a $240 million hole without the boost from settlements of corporate tax cases.

Boardman also said a shortfall could return if the economy fails to turn the corner soon.