Last July’s headlines warned about impending deficits. A Raleigh News & Observer editorial titled, “After N.C.’s tax-cut frenzy, deficits loom,” said, “just days after the legislature approved a new $23 billion budget full of spending austerity and more tax cuts, the legislature’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division delivered the truth” [emphasis added] about future revenue shortfalls based on assumptions that spending would grow at an annual rate of 4.5 percent, faster than the combined rate of inflation and population growth.

This year, Gov. Roy Cooper’s is projected by the same nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division to have a $469 million shortfall in the second year based on spending growth of just 2.07 percent. The News & Observer reported simply, “Cooper defended his budget from suggestions from the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal researchers that if the state had adopted his proposal, the state government would soon face a deficit,” before adding, “Cooper said that not only does his plan not lead to deficit spending, but that he thinks the Republicans will eventually put the state into a deficit.”  WRAL got around to the structural deficit question at the end of its story. Somehow most of the stories also understate the projected shortfall by $19 million.

Only The Insider [subscription] found it notable that Cooper’s budget office had a $500 million “formula error” in its initial calculations.