tax reform

Chronicling NC's great Republican tax shift

The only thing trickling down is the tax burden:

Adding salt to the wound is the state-imposed utility tax, which went from 3 percent to 7 percent as of July 1. The tax increase comes from Raleigh’s effort to protect a threatened minority (wealthy people and large corporations) and redistribute wealth (from the lower and middle classes to the wealthy).

Gov. Pat McCrory takes credit for that. He got a 2 percent cut in individual income tax and even larger cut in corporate state income tax, and said “other taxes have gone up to make up the difference. It was tax reform with a move to more of a consumption-based tax. You pay tax on a newspaper now, lawyers have to pay tax, there are a host of other new or increased consumption taxes and we closed up a lot of loopholes.”

Remember that the next time your Republican lawmakers say they cut your taxes.

Even if they do remember most of the Republicans' base is afflicted with the "Democrats did it too!" method of rationalization. And usually they're screaming that from under the bus their heroes have placed them.

About that tax "reform" plan

Thom Tillis and Phil Berger have just sucker-punched North Carolina, again.

North Carolina’s new tax code results in taxpayers at the lowest end of the income spectrum, with income of $17,000 or less, paying around 9.5 percent of their annual income in total state and local taxes while taxpayers at the upper end, with income of $345,000 or more, pay about 5.5 percent of their annual income in total state and local taxes.

See more at:

Their one big accomplishment?

Two weeks into the new year, there's one thing we can safely say about tax reform, the NCGOP's major legislative accomplishment for 2013. It is an unmitigated disaster. Among the many groups who are already suffering under the weight of reform are students, people who heat their homes, people who go to movies, people who buy mobile homes, and most of all, tens of thousands of businesses who now have to comply with the burden of new rules.

Tillis tries to defend tax reform with incoherent rambling

Of course, that's just a guess. Analysts are still trying to decipher what he said:

But Tillis, a 53-year-old former IBM executive who has the strong backing of the GOP establishment but is by no means the prohibitive front-runner, is betting that Southern Democrats who once thrived here are dying breeds because of the liberal policies coming out of Washington. He is defiant about North Carolina’s hard-right turn, calling it a “reform agenda unlike any other state in the United States.”

“I think for the most part, what I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers,” he said in an interview in his Raleigh office. “They lost, they don’t like it, and they are going to try to do everything they can to, I think, cast doubt on things that I think are wise and that the average citizen when they know what we’re doing, I think, like it.”

Um, what? Did Thom's doctor cut him off from caffeinated coffee or something? I think his repetitive use of the phrase "I think" (four times, no less) is an effort to jump-start his brain, not unlike when you get a straight-gear car rolling and then pop the clutch. It's not working.

NC GOP tax reform: tax student meals to pay for tax cuts for the rich

That bitter aftertaste is voter's remorse:

Meal plans and event tickets sold on North Carolina university campuses were formerly exempt from the state’s 6.75 percent sales tax, but the N.C. General Assembly repealed that exemption over the summer. The change takes effect Jan. 1.

“To give you an example with real numbers, (consider) the Value 14 — currently that plan is $1,725, so it’s going to go up to $1,854. It’s about a $129 increase,” said Mike Freeman, director of auxiliary services. “But it’s not money we get. It’s going straight to the Department of Revenue.”

And that money going straight to the Department of Revenue is coming (mostly) from North Carolina's shrinking middle-class, who Republicans have abandoned. Actually, they never cared for the middle-class in the first place, so "abandoned" may be an inappropriate term. "Screwed again" is much closer to the truth.

NC GOP snubs entrepreneurs by letting tax credit expire

Apparently "business-friendly" only applies to big business:

A tax credit that acted as an incentive for investors to take financial risks on start-up businesses was not renewed as part of this year’s tax reform initiative, a senior adviser to the governor said Friday. The expiration of the tax credit was a concern for some investors at last week’s CED Tech Venture Conference in Raleigh, which brought start-up companies as well together with potential business investors.

The credit, which expires Jan. 1, is for 25 percent of an investment or $50,000, whichever is less. The total amount of credit awards per year is capped at $7.5 million.

North Carolina has hosted more than its fair share of start-up companies in the last decade or so, and it's pure foolishness to assume that will continue by taking a critical element like this tax credit out of the formula. If the GOP keeps "fixing" things that aren't broken, NC will soon find itself listed in magazines under the top five worst places to do business.

Take a Hike, Thom

Originally posted at

Today, the Young Democrats of North Carolina released it's newest :30 web ad, "Take a Hike," on - a website launched to fight back against the "Tillis Tax Hike," HB 998. HB 998 was passed by Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and NC House Republicans under the guise of tax reform, but the proposal will raise taxes, on average, on the bottom 95% of North Carolinians. GrowNCWrong - a play on the pro-Tillis Super PAC - is telling the truth about Tillis's middle class tax hike and the NC House's plan to divest from everything that makes NC great.

Phil Berger: Middle class tax increase = more freedom and control

Maybe our friends at NC Policy Watch will do a line-by-line rebuttal to this official spin from The Master of Deceit. This was received via email by a friend from Phil Berger's spokesbot.


Dear Ms. Jones:

Thank you for your email – and for your honest feedback. Senator Berger values the opportunity to hear from constituents across the state and sincerely appreciates your taking the time to write. North Carolina’s tax code is outdated and its taxes are excessive. It’s no coincidence that North Carolina has the highest taxes in the Southeast and one of the worst employment rates in the country. States that have no income tax are the very same states that have a booming economy and job growth. States that have high income taxes are struggling.

The NC GOP's assault on the poor & middle class

Every single member of the General Assembly needs to ask him- or her-self one critical question: how will raising the taxes on 80% of the voting population affect my chances for reelection? While there are definitely more moral questions they should be asking at this time, they've demonstrated a unique ability to ignore such aspects, so the practicality of pissing off a supermajority of the citizens may be the only thing that penetrates those hard heads:

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