There have been some big numbers, some good, some bad, in the news lately. Here are a few:

$1.5 billion — the advertised Powerball jackpot at the moment

$1.5 billion — the amount in rainy-day reserves, contingency funds, and other cash accounts built up in North Carolina through fiscal discipline over the past five years

$1 billion — the threshold amount achieved in the state’s unemployment insurance reserve fund in November

$2.5 billion — how far in debt to the federal government the state was in unemployment insurance payments in 2013

$560 million — savings accruing to state employers like a “tax cut” owing to the end of federal and state unemployment insurance surcharges

$190 million — early projected budget shortfall for fiscal year 2015 decried in December 2014 by The News & Observer editors under the headline “NC tax cuts are taking a toll” (they called it “worrisome because state spending already is at a spartan level” and “creating unnecessary headaches for state agencies and preventing investments in education, infrastructure and services for the needy”)

At least  $200 million to possibly over $1 billion — Same shortfall owing to “cutting off unemployment benefits [and] lowering taxes on the wealthy and profitable corporations” as described in January 2015 by N&O editor Ned Barnett, who saw North Carolina “sliding backward, losing ground” while “Republican leaders showed not a whit of concern about the revenue shortfall or a doubt about their scorched-earth approach to state funding or any sign of listening to those who say the state should do more”

$860 million — the actual budget surplus in fiscal year 2015

At least $183.5 million to uncomfortably close to $1 billion — cost in tax credits to renewable energy projects under the “safe harbor” law enacted in April 2015 ($183.5 million was the initial projection, while $937.8 million is the worst-case scenario projected by the state Department of Revenue)

0.0 million — Editorials in the N&O fretting over the potential effects to the state of tax cuts to renewable energy projects

Over 292 million — Possible combinations of the Powerball jackpot (292,201,338 to be exact, meaning your chance to win is one in 292,201,338)