State financial officials say they'll keep a close eye on holiday shopping this season.
With falling tax revenue, high unemployment and a recent increase in the state sales tax, they want to know how holiday sales will affect the state's budget.
State Rep. Mickey Michaux is the chief budget-writer in the Statehouse. He says this year's holiday sales bear closer watching than in the past.
If sales tax collections are worse than projected this season, it could be a signal that North Carolina's economic recovery will take longer.
That could also lead to more state spending cuts next year and a deeper budget hole when federal stimulus money runs out.