A report from the state controller Wednesday shows North Carolina's tax revenues are down $477 million compared to the same period a year ago.
The $477 million represents a 4 percent drop in tax revenue. That's actually an improvement from a few months ago, when the state was down 6 percent.
That new yoga mat you got for Christmas is part of the improvement.
"The holiday sales season did help," N.C. Budget Director Lee Roberts says. "It was the best holiday sales season in the past several years."
Sales tax collections are up 16 percent compared to July through January of the past fiscal year.
Tax revenues are still down overall though because of income tax cuts championed by North Carolina's Republican governor and lawmakers.
Roberts says his office anticipated that, so the key thing to look at is how revenues compare to what the state budgeted. On that front, the General Assembly's fiscal research team and Roberts' office estimate North Carolina is 1.3 percent short.
"Obviously you'd prefer not to have a gap, but it's a relatively small shortfall in the context of our budget," he says.
Roberts says since 1987, the median amount that actual revenue has been off of budgeted revenue is 2.5 percent – further off than the state is currently.
He emphasizes these are projections for now. The state won't know for sure what kind of shape it'll be in with tax revenue until May, after people file their tax returns.