April 19, 2014 1 Comment
No, not the awesome one, but Art Pope, NC’s own Koch Brother and current Budget Director. He had an op-ed in the N&O this week that was just breathtaking in its mendacity and lack of actual empirical support for any of its claims. To wit:
Our tax code is now simpler, more uniform and fairer for everyone.
Tax reform began in 2011, when the General Assembly reduced the state sales tax rate by 17 percent, from a state rate of 5.75 percent to 4.75 percent. Tax reform continued in 2013, when McCrory and the legislature simplified the personal income tax – taking rates ranging from 6 percent to 7.75 percent to a single flat rate of 5.8 percent. They also passed a higher standard deduction starting in 2014 and a flat personal income tax rate of 5.75 percent in 2015.
Oh please!! There is nothing simpler about having fewer and lower marginal rates. You calculate your taxable income and you pay based on your rates. It’s that simple. Whether your rate is 10% or 5% and having multiple marginal rates makes it not the least bit harder. Fewer, lower rates, basically just means less taxes for rich people. Surely Art Pope’s idea of “fairer for everyone” but not what most people would see as “fair.”
The truth is, everyone in North Carolina is benefiting from the tax reforms that began in 2011. Sales tax rates are lower, income tax rates are lower and the standard deduction is higher.
Of course, there’s myriad analyses that show that not everyone is benefiting. And to think just a little more broadly than the incredibly narrow way that Pope is stuck in, I would argue that if you have kids in public school you are not benefiting. If you care about the quality of education in NC at all, you are not benefiting. If you care about health care for the mentally ill, you are not benefiting. If you care about health care for the working poor, you are not benefiting. If you care about a crumbling infrastructure– perhaps you’ve been known to drive on roads– you are not benefiting. Okay, I’ll stop now.
If you want to follow Pope’s logic, just lower taxes to 0, we’ll all have way more take home pay, and everything will be grand. Though, I think Hobbes had something to say about that.
The next time you buy clothes for your children, look at the receipt to see how much sales tax is charged and think of what you saved compared with the old state sales tax rate. Think of the long-term benefit in an economy that is still recovering and of employers, both corporations and mom and pop partnerships, keeping a bit more of the money they earned – money that can by reinvested to create more jobs and grow the economy.
Next time I pay $.40 less for a shirt I’ll be so glad that it won’t bother me at all that quality teachers are fleeing our state or that are universities are finding it harder than ever to compete for the top talent.
The evidence is clear. Tax reform is working, and nearly every North Carolinian is keeping more of the money earned, which is fundamental to building a stronger economy.
If the current evidence is clear, I’d hate to see ambiguous evidence.
And just to be clear, this transparent nonsense is from the single most politically influential person in the state. Ugh.