The budget is based on a growth rate of 4 percent during the 2001-02 fiscal year and 4.9 percent in 2002-03.
But critics say the estimates are too optimistic in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and an economy that continues to slow. Last week the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst one-week drop in history. Several airlines with N.C. hubs have announced layoffs.
Rep. Warren Oldham, D-Forsyth, who is the co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said it is too early to speculate on the state's economic future. "Right now, who knows what's going to happen?" Oldham said. "We will have to wait and see what the revenue situation is the second year."
He added that if the budget has to be adjusted in 2002-03, education and human services, which tie up 80 percent of the budget, could be targeted for cuts.
"It stands to reason that if you've got to make cuts, that's where you've got to go," Oldham said.
But other experts have remained optimistic about the revenue situation.
"The governor may have to make some (later) adjustments," said Dan Gerlach, director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.
But Gerlach added that an economic recovery in the corporate world, as well as an increase in consumer confidence, should be in full swing by next year.
Much of the revenue from an estimated $1 billion tax package the state legislator passed last week comes from a half-cent sales tax increase. The amount of revenue earned from a sales tax will decline if consumers are unwilling to spend money.