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Together NC presses lawmakers to adopt a budget that includes new revenue

Together NC [1]is urging lawmakers to restore deep cuts made to the state’s public schools, health services, and environmental protection with the launch of its “North Carolina’s Worth It Campaign.”

The coalition’s plan raises over $1 billion in revenue by temporarily extending the penny sales tax, adding a new income tax bracket on households earning over $1 million annually, and expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. [2]

“Over the last three years, our state’s public structures – our schools and universities, our health care system, our basic infrastructure – have all taken a hit as a result of deep and largely unnecessary budget cuts,” said Louisa Warren, one of Together NC’s coordinators. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can return to a North Carolina that puts more kids into early childhood education, keeps college affordable, and stops our vital infrastructure from crumbling.”

[3]Beth Messersmith, mother of two and coordinator of the North Carolina Chapter of MomsRising.org [4], reminded lawmakers that investments in programs such as prekindergarten and infant mortality prevention can make a long-lasting difference in the lives of children.

“North Carolinians understand the importance of continuing to invest in our state’s future, even if it requires sharing some of the burden now,” she said. “That’s why North Carolina moms are counting on our lawmakers to do what’s right, and invest in our children.”

Specifically the group is calling on legislators to adopt a plan in the short session that includes:

1. Restoring the temporary penny sales tax increase for one year. This tax measure, which the legislature allowed to expire last year, has been shown to have broad public support. It would raise $1.1 billion in revenue.

2. Expanding the state’s refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. While the sales tax is one of the best sources for immediate and substantial revenue, we also know it hits low-income households the hardest. That’s why we support expanding the EITC for North Carolina’s hardest-working families, to offset the temporary one-cent increase in the sales tax. Expanding North Carolina’s EITC from 5% to 10% of the federal EITC would cost approximately $107 million.

3. Increasing the income tax on millionaires. Currently we have an upside-down tax system, with the poorest North Carolinians paying a larger share of their income in taxes than the richest residents. Adding a top income tax bracket at 8.5% on households earning over $1 million would raise $76 million in new revenue and affect only 5,000 North Carolinians.

You can read more about their campaign here [5].

Together NC is a collection of more than 120 non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations who have come together to promote wise choices for shared prosperity for all North Carolinians.