This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.
North Carolina is not unique in that it, too, is facing a considerable budget shortfall, with unemployment now sitting in the double digits. What does make the Old North State something of a standout is that it entered the pandemic with a considerable amount of cash on hand.
Sales and gas taxes have plummeted and the state is bracing for as much as a 10% drop in revenue, amounting to more than $4 billion.
However, state legislators are cautiously optimistic that layoffs for state employees, including teachers, can be avoided. That's because of the more than $6 billion in cash that the state had in various coffers as the pandemic hit.
In recent years, Republicans have built up the rainy day fund, cut unemployment benefits — while simultaneously beefing up those reserves — and also hunkered down in an ongoing budget stalemate with the Democratic governor.
North Carolina has now gone more than a year without a new budget, leaving more money on the bottom line. Budget writers expect to receive a complete revenue picture this month, following the delayed income tax deadline.
Legislators will reconvene in early September when they plan to address the most pressing fiscal needs.