Tax revenue up, still nearly $600 million in COVID relief funds unspent

Published October 15, 2020

By Brian Balfour

The North Carolina State Controller recently released its monthly General Fund report for September. The report marks the first quarter of the current fiscal year that started July 1.

Here are six interesting takeaways from the report:

*  There is still $1.1 billion in the state’s “Rainy Day” fund – providing a significant cushion for potential volatility with revenue in the remainder of the fiscal year
*  Providing an even more substantial cushion is $3.7 billion in “non-reverting department funds,” i.e. unspent revenue
*  Interestingly, there is still $593 million remaining in the state’s “coronavirus relief reserve” fund. However, much of that may be earmarked for expenditure in the near future
*  Tax revenue for the month of Sept. is up slightly over Sept. of 2019, by about 2.7% or $56 million
*  Year to date tax revenue is up significantly – by $1.3 billion or 24% – thanks largely to the extension of the filing date from April 15 to the current fiscal year, boosting current year tax collections by about $1 billion according to some estimates
*  Individual income tax collections for Sept. are down very slightly compared to last Sept., sales tax collections are essentially flat, while corporate tax collections are up significantly year over year (21%)

The bottom line: North Carolina is still well positioned to weather the economic downturn caused by Gov. Cooper’s economic shutdown, thanks to years of wise, conservative fiscal responsibility.