As North Carolina tries to dig out of its worst budget crisis in decades, it could use a little help from William Hupman.
The Mebane businessman - and longtime city councilman - owes the state $2.2 million in back taxes.
He tops a list of hundreds of delinquent taxpayers posted on the Department of Revenue Web site. Collectively they owe the state more than $500 million.
That would put a dent in the record $2.2 billion shortfall that's pinching not only the state but local governments and school systems across North Carolina.
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"It ticks me off to no end," said Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston and co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. "It infuriates me. Here we are with times as tough as they are."
Gov. Bev Perdue is scheduled to release a budget proposal today that includes double-digit spending cuts for many agencies. She already has ordered cuts totaling $930 million, frozen $177 million in capital improvement funds and tapped $250 million in other reserves.
In that context, the amount of unpaid taxes is glaring.
Delinquents owed $505 million at the end of February, a level little changed from a year ago despite the worsening economy, according to Charles Helms, director of the collections division at the revenue department.
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