The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

March 30, 2012

Republicans to take their bite at tax reform

Friday, March 29, 2012 — RALEIGH – Legislative Republicans may soon head down a path that always seemed to befuddle their Democratic predecessors.

Assuming that they still control the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013, GOP lawmakers say that they will take a stab at tax reform.

Democrats talked a lot about the same subject for a number of years.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, near the end of her first year in office, called tax reform “a must-do.” Before that, former Gov. Mike Easley created a commission to examine reworking the state’s tax structure.

During both the Perdue and Easley administrations, various heads of the House and Senate Finance committees have discussed a major overhaul of the state’s tax laws.

Even before then, in 1998, I remember talking about the issue with a prominent Republican legislator during the GOP’s earlier reign in the House.

In just about every case, the ideas discussed involved broadening the sales tax to cover services like car repairs and legal representation while lowering the overall tax rate. Behind the ideas lay the notion that, in an increasingly service-based economy, a sales tax focused mainly on goods doesn’t reflect or keep pace with economic growth.

The efforts never went anywhere. Without any hue and cry, the politicians had little to gain and everything to lose by shaking up the status quo.

Closed-door discussions about tax reform are apparently again in vogue in the Legislative Building. Republican ideas, though, may involve much more than expanding the sales tax base.

House Speaker Thom Tillis recently mentioned doing away with the personal income tax as an idea worth considering. Republicans may also be reviving the idea of eliminating the corporate income tax, as well as dropping state estate taxes.

No one enjoys paying taxes, so perhaps everyone should stand up and cheer on the honorables.

Supporters of eliminating income taxes see an added benefit of better competing economically with states like Tennessee and Florida, which don’t have personal income taxes.

Legislators might want to consider, though, that Tennessee has the highest state and local sales taxes in the country. Florida has some of the highest (and wackiest) property taxes in the country.

As for North Carolina, slightly more than half of our annual tax revenue – $9.7 billion – comes from individual income taxes. Another $1 billion or so comes from corporate income taxes.

To make up that revenue solely through the sales tax would require that those tax rates nearly triple, or that you taxed so much new stuff that they raised almost three times the current $5.9 billion in revenue.

Or, perhaps you just throw off current state responsibilities onto local government, like a lot of other states do.

However you bite at this green apple, you are going to get a little sick. Whether lawyers collecting sales taxes or property owners paying higher property taxes, someone will see to that.

It’s why Democrats kept putting the apple back on the shelf, hoping it would ripen a bit.

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    NEW YORK - Economists love hamburgers. Specifically fast-food burgers. This is partly because all right-thinking human beings love ground meat on a bun, but it's also because the sandwich makes a handy yardstick for international financial comparisons. The ingredients and labor involved in preparing a Big Mac are pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world, so by looking at how many hours of toiling it takes a worker to earn enough to purchase one, you can get a sense of how wages really stack up across countries. The Economist famously created the Big Mac index in 1986 to see which currencies were overvalued. It started as a joke. Now, as the magazine proudly notes, it's a subject of academic study.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    WASHINGTON - What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Doug Creamer All in the Family

    We had a family get-together at my brother’s house on Easter Sunday. It’s hard to get our family together because we are spread out, especially when you consider nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings all made the gathering this year. Some of my nieces and nephews are far away, but they all remember gathering at my brother’s house for the holidays. Easter is known for the Jell-O eggs and the famous Easter egg hunt.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content