State Budget Shortfall Grows

A new report says the budget shortfall in North Carolina state government has widened.

General Assembly researchers said Friday state revenues are $320
million below what lawmakers had expected through October when they drew up this year's budget. A month ago, the amount was about $230 million.

The numbers reflect tax collections that remain about five percent below expectations.

Report author Barry Boardman says North Carolina's weakening
employment market can be blamed in part for lower than expected
sales and personal income taxes. Boardman said earlier this month
that the fiscal year shortfall could range from $800 million to $1.6 billion.

Outgoing Gov. Mike Easley already has a package to hold back up
to $1.2 billion to deal with the shortfall.

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