NC taxes– take from the poor to give to the rich

The wrongheadeness of the Republican Party in NC is truly breathtaking.  Now that they have full control of our government, they can finally implement their evil plans.  (“evil? Evan just asked me while looking over my shoulder.  “Yes, Evan.” )  Like cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on the poor.  Seriously.  It’s that simple:

RALEIGH — Republican lawmakers outlined a proposal Wednesday to revamp the state’s tax system, offering a slew of reforms that would radically shift the tax burden in North Carolina.

The proposal would eliminate personal and corporate income taxes in exchange for higher state sales taxes levied against groceries, medical expenses and other currently tax-free services.

Senate leader Phil Berger said the moves are necessary to modernize the state’s tax code and kick-start a struggling economy. He pointed to the state’s tax rates, saying the current 6.9 percent corporate tax rate and 7.75 percent personal tax rate for the highest earners are among the highest the region.

Now plenty of smart people across the spectrum agree that we should broaden our sales tax base to include services, but I certainly have not heard reasonable people saying we need to get rid of the exemption on the sales tax for food.  That exemption is quite important for preventing the tax from being hugely regressive.  But, the Republicans want to tax poor people for their food while cutting income tax.  Just unreal.  Wral put together a nice video on the impact (sorry, can’t embed).

I think the venality and folly of it largely speaks for itself, that said, friend and reader DC pretty much nailed it on FB (and I’m going to assume it’s alright with him that I copied his status here):

You want to talk about “being competitive with other states”? Lets talk about good schools, modern transportation, and an unspoiled environment. How do we stack up on those lists? Lets talk about a state where our tax burden is shared and where those who have benefited from all this state has to offer, give back their fair share. Lets talk about the people from all over the country ( and world) who relocate here because of world class universities and a culture of making sure we all succeed. Sure, taxes are one piece of that, but it’s not why so many people are drawn here. And do we really want to be attracting folks whose sole criteria for relocation is how little they chip in for shared infrastructure?

Depressing.  Our new governor got broad support by portraying himself as moderate.  Now we’ll see what he’s really made of.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to NC taxes– take from the poor to give to the rich

  1. Mike from Canada says:

    Do the surrounding states have a sales tax that is about the same, or are shoppers now going to start crossing state lines to buy groceries, gas, or whatever else they need?

    Either way, I’m willing to bet that NC winds up with a deficit, or larger one. The poor will look for ways to get around the tax. And NC politicians will have to cut, cut and cut to make up for the difference. Of course, that’s probably the plan.

    • Steve Greene says:

      I don’t think the surrounding states sales taxes are all that different (probably higher, if anything, they’ve had more Republican governments). It’s hard to avoid a sales tax on food. Your last two sentences are the key.

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