NC Policy Watch did a great job yesterday slicing and dicing the lies of government hating anti-tax radicals here in North Carolina.
There is an adage that maintains that if you say something often enough, people will believe it. That appears to be the strategy of the folks fighting to cut taxes this session of the General Assembly, to ignore the facts and claim that North Carolina tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals are too high and are hurting economic development.
Unfortunately, it seems to be working, at least according to reports about the Senate budget that is scheduled to be unveiled early this week. Senate leaders want to reduce taxes by a quarter of percent on the state’s wealthiest tax payers and cut the sales tax by one-fourth of a cent. Combined, the tax cuts will cost $225 million a year.
Most days, the NC legislature seems to me like a bunch of clowns, crooks and cowards, afraid of their own shadows, afraid of Art Pope, and afraid of standing up for anything beyond their own self-interest. Especially when North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry (aka, White Boys for Bidness and InDUStry) joins the fray. Reducing taxes is one of their highest priorities of these friends of the Puppetmaster.
Senator Richard Stevens was on television recently to oppose an increase in the state minimum wage and used the occasion to tout NCCBI’s line about taxes. He even embellished the usual talking points, claiming that North Carolina’s sales tax is also the highest in the Southeast and saying that businesses look at tax rates on income, sales and property when deciding where to locate a new facility.
Tennessee’s sales tax is higher than North Carolina’s and our state generally ranks very low in terms of property tax rates. Too bad the reporter doing the interview let Stevens’ comments go unchallenged and didn’t mention the latest issue of Site Selection Magazine that ranks North Carolina’s Department of Commerce the best in country.
I personally haven't noticed a lot of North Carolina bidnesses rushing off to one of those low-tax states, like say, SOUTH Carolina. Why? Because South Carolina sucks in terms of public services and public education. People aren't stupid. They know that you get what you pay for - even when you're spending public money. (Unless of course, if you're paying Halliburton, in which case what you get is screwed.)
The budget surplus this year also proves it. The state’s economy is booming in many areas. Hard to imagine that happening if tax rates were so burdensome. Yet the calls for tax cuts continue and sadly the Senate is listening.
It is all not just an abstract policy exercise. Cutting taxes means less money to invest in things that do matter in economic development and the quality of life for people in North Carolina, affordable housing, education, child care, transportation, etc. The folks at NCCBI know that quality of life matters to companies looking at North Carolina. The group’s legislative agenda includes a call for investment in higher education and public schools.
Apparently no one there has figured out that you can’t invest in education if the money is paying for tax cuts, but at least NCCBI admits we need to fund improvements in our schools.
Go read the rest of the article. And then email it to your legislators. Tell them some things are more important than tax cuts. Like decent schools and a clean environment.