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Proposed food tax hike gets a stale reception

b122Even before the General Assembly begins debating tax reform, a proposal by Republican lawmakers to lower the individual and corporate income tax is drawing a wary eye. To replace that revenue, lawmakers would look at a higher state sales tax on food and other items.

Senate President Phil Berger’s proposal drew this response from the editorial board of the Greenville Daily Reflector:

‘While the Legislature is correct to examine all aspects of taxation, it should not seek to balance its books on the backs of the least fortunate, as a food tax attempts to do.’

‘On that point, the Senate leader is misguided. While North Carolina should have a tax code that is fair and makes the state more competitive, regressive taxes inflict tremendous harm on the poor. McCrory should state clearly that food taxes are a non-starter in Raleigh.’

The Greensboro News & Record also questions the Senate leader’s call for a broad-based, consumption tax:

‘….proponents of tax reform generally list “revenue neutrality” as a goal. Berger clearly believes state government should make do with less money. Presumably, he would favor reform that delivers lower revenues than today’s recession-era level. Is that really desirable?

Second, how would the burden of paying taxes be redistributed? A sales tax is regressive because people with modest incomes are compelled to spend most of what they earn rather than save or invest it….

Raising the tax on groceries could be hurtful and unfair, particularly if it’s meant to help make up for revenue lost by eliminating income taxes on high earners.

North Carolina must devise a tax system that raises enough revenue to fund critical services and make productive investments, and that also requires those who can best afford it pay the largest shares. A nearly 8 percent tax on groceries for the poor would earn the politicians responsible a bad name.’

You can read the Greensboro News & Record’s full editorial here, and the Daily Reflector’s here.

9 Comments

  1. JeffS

    January 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

    This argument is a non-starter, as the sole purpose of the so-called reform is to shift the tax burden from away from the wealthy onto the individual.

    It is, in-effect, a corporate subsidy. While the right is quick to point out that taxes on corporations get passed onto the individual, they conveniently ignore the fact that tax reductions on businesses do not get passed on to the customer and remain as profit.

    The party of the self-centered is doing what they always do. Looking out for themselves. Now, something like a food tax might get shut down if a particular lobbying group has enough pull to divert the tax elsewhere. So, do not mistake that action, if it happens, to be a concern for those of lower income. It will not be. The taxes will land on the backs of whoever shows the least political influence.

    If history is any indication, we will likely see the burden “spread” by heaping the majority of it into ever-increasing sin-taxes, court fees, penalties and the like. Quite the opposite of equitable distribution, but again – that is not been the goal of our legislature in recent years, regardless of political affiliation.

  2. Greg Hils

    January 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Can we eat our way to a more prosperous tomorrow? Let’s ask Sen Ralph Hise.

  3. david esmay

    January 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Berger and his fellow ALEC minions in the GOTP have always had one thing in mind when they focus their jaundiced eyes on society. Make the the poor and disadvantaged do so much more with so much less, and make the wealthy and corporations do so much less with oh so much more. His ideology and that of his party, is a perversion of American society.

  4. Frank Burns

    January 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Berger may have gotten that idea from the Charlotte City Council (Democrat controlled) who want to raise the prepared food tax to pay for improvements to the Panthers Football Stadium which is owned by the Panthers.

  5. david esmay

    January 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    That idea came straight from ALEC and the RNC as a means to undermine our government, not the Charlotte City Council, they don’t focus on social Darwinism and “starve the beast” b.s.. Frank once again making fatuity an art form.

  6. Frances Jenkins

    January 23, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I bet Senator Hise’s IQ is 50 points higher that Greg Hil’s IQ.

  7. James Protzman

    January 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Pope says “not a good idea” to Berger’s reform plan. Wonder who will win this one?

    Duh.

    http://www.bluenc.com/ruh-roh

  8. david esmay

    January 24, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I bet the collective IQ of NC drops every time Frances or Frank opens their mouth.

  9. Frances Jenkins

    January 25, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Take a chill pill David and get off the hate train.