Who will win the tax reform slugfest? Phil Berger or Governor Pope? #ncgov Budget Dir Art Pope talking to journos at UNC. Says he doesn't think eliminating personal/corp income taxes is a good idea #ncga — mark binker (@binker) January 23, 2013 James's blog Comments Poor Phil Berger Can't even get his talking points straight. Looks like the Big Cheese in the Senate is nothing more than a sh/t screen in Governor Pope's sideshow. James Protzman Neither, seemingly, can Pope-Civitas ...They put out an article today claiming that all states should do away with their state income taxes. Word on the street, however, is that this is not all accidental. Everyone appears to have been assigned a role -- with Berger, Rucho and Pope-Civitas people serving as the far right bomb throwers while the Locke Foundation and other more "moderate" right-wingers ride to the rescue with a "responsible" tax cut plan that merely slashes rates and makes the personal income tax even flatter than it already is. This will then be dutifully reported by many in the mainstream news media as a "middle-of-the-road compromise." Expect to see this alternative plan emerge in the relatively near future. I suspected as much The whole charade has all the makings of kabuki theatre, orchestrated, of course, by the million-dollar man behind the curtain. Whatever the outcome, revenues will decline and the poor and middle-class will get screwed, as they always do. And no one in the mainstream media will bother to dig into the facts on the ground to report on the regressive shift. Meanwhile, my post from earlier this week still applies: What does that mean for North Carolina? It means a race to the bottom. If you are a public-sector employee and don't happen to be a Friend of Art, it's a safe bet you are going to either (1) lose your job, (2) get a pay cut, or (3) see your income frozen. If you are unemployed or poor, you will be paying more in taxes next year than you did last year, filling the gap resulting from "tax reform." And if you are a middle class family scrambling to get by in these tough times, you're in for a world of hurt. Your children will end up in more crowded classrooms. The roads your drive on will not be maintained. The parks you visit will fall into disrepair. The air you breathe will be more polluted. The water you drink will be more expensive and toxic. And the state you love will become another subsidiary in Art Pope's slum retailing empire, full of cheap crap from China. Read more: http://www.bluenc.com/#ixzz2Iox4Lfna James Protzman As much as I hate to say it, I hope an alternative plan comes out. Just as I hope an alternative to the UI benefit-slashing comes out. Like maybe a 10% reduction in weekly payouts (as opposed to 40%) combined with a higher employer insurance rate. I know many of my fellow progressives don't even want to play the compromise game, but I fear we're in the "degrees of damage" zone where the fates of many North Carolinians are in jeopardy. Agreed But, of course, the road to something less horrible is paved by caring and thinking people who raise a lot of heck. Broadening the tax base for services Kabuki theater, indeed. And one of the Acts to come will probably involve listing which services get taxed in the base-broadening “reform.” (The Civitas list would tax any service that any other state taxes, if I understand correctly. So they would tax dentists but not doctors. That’s a line that’s hard to defend.) So service businesses from tattoo parlors to lawyers will have incentives to (1) hire lobbyists and (2) make campaign contributions. The plot thickens.