Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

Good for state education czar Bill Harrison, who said Tuesday that he wants lawmakers to pass the increases in the cigarette and alcohol taxes that Governor Beverly Perdue recommended and to temporarily raise the state sales tax, all to protect public schools from the devastating cuts called for in the latest version of the House budget.

Raising the regressive sales tax is not the best way to raise revenue, but at least Harrison is talking publicly about tax increases as part of the way to address next year’s $4.6 billion shortfall.

Perdue’s spokesperson told the N&O that Harrison’s proposals “are not something the governor is pushing.” Perdue did have the good sense to recommend $600 million in tax increases as part of her budget proposal and that was before the shortfall grew by $2 billion.

It would be nice to know what Perdue thinks lawmakers should do now that the shortfall is so much larger.

Just as importantly, let’s hope that Harrison’s public call for new taxes wakes up other key state leaders like UNC President Erskine Bowles and Community College President Scott Ralls. Both have spoken passionately about the damage the proposed House budget would do to their institutions, but neither has yet called for new revenue to prevent it.

4 Comments

  1. IBXer

    June 3, 2009 at 8:40 am

    People aren’t spending money? Quickly, raise taxes!

  2. bob

    June 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I would tax people who smoke and drink rather than cut money for teachers and schools. It just doesnt make sense to cut state employees pay.

  3. Billy

    June 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Bob, you are exactly right. The only fair thing to do is to tax smokers and drinkers. They don’t mind paying $5 for a pack of cigarettes that are going to kill them…they surely won’t mind paying even more taxes. They should also allow teachers to smoke on campus…they probably buy more cigarettes and beer than any other group of people.

  4. bob

    June 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I have had several heavy chain smokers that I work with say that “they didn’t care how much cigarettes went up, that they were going to keep smoking”, which is kind of ironic now that our insurance, aka: state wealth plan, i mean health plan is punishing them for smoking and knocking them down to 70/30 coverage.