State spending could hit 40-year low

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Black Friday's surprisingly strong sales are the latest bit of evidence that the economy is improving.

Take a look at the state budget, and you'll see improvements too.

Last year, we had a shortfall of $4.6 billion. This year, that gap has closed significantly to just over $1 billion.

And that's why you might be shocked to hear this: In 2011, many expect state spending to reach its lowest point in forty years.

It seems impossible to imagine, but that means the well will get even drier for social services and charities.

The reason is simple. Much of the emergency federal aid that flooded states during the economic crisis will expire. So our budget shortfall may look smaller, but we have a lot less money to make up for it.