RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina tax collections continue to outpace budgeted expectations at the fiscal year's halfway mark, improving the chances for a surplus when the year ends in June.

The General Assembly's top staff economist wrote legislative leaders Tuesday telling them that taxes, fees and other revenues are $322 million ahead of projections for the six months ending Dec. 31 — or 3 percent over the target.

Nearly all of the increase can be contributed to better-than-anticipated numbers for individual income, sales and business taxes.

Legislative economist Barry Boardman says revenue growth should continue to follow its current trend thanks to a state economy with stable economic growth. Boardman says current collections should help offset any surprises in the second half of the year, including the potentially volatile April tax season.