Will Phil Berger even release the details of his tax plan?

Phil BergerThree days after the release of a website/commercial describing the general outlines of a state tax “reform” plan by North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the initiative is well on its way to political oblivion.

Not only was Berger’s outline (“plan” is really too generous of a word) widely viewed, reported and understood in the state policy community as a thinly-veiled attempt to kick-start a U.S. Senate campaign for Berger, it was also politely dismissed by Governor McCrory and House Speaker Tillis with the basic message of “Thanks for the suggestions, Phil. We’ll get back to you on that at some point.”

Need more confirmation that the whole thing has about as much chance of being enacted into law this year as McCrory’s harebrained idea to privatize the state Medicaid system? Consider this: Berger still hasn’t even released the actual details of his proposal — much less introduced a bill.

What little we know about the about Berger’s rough draft — that it slashes taxes on millionaires, further reduces essential state services and raises taxes on the working poor and some middle class families through higher sales taxes on groceries and many services — is quickly drawing scorn from across the political spectrum.

Things are so wrapped around the axle that even some of Berger’s cheerleaders at the far-right Pope-Civitas Institute have been criticizing the tax calculator that Berger features on his website.  Mind you, the calculator was designed by the Tax Foundation — a conservative anti-tax group that Civitas works closely with. (At a tax policy debate in Raleigh this week co-sponsored by the Budget and Tax Center and Civitas, the designated conservative voice was an employee of the Tax Foundation!)

The bottom line: At this point, having garnered his 15 minutes in the spotlight, it appears that Berger may have well decided to limit his losses by not even bothering to formally release the details of his policy brainstorm — if they even exist in one place. And even if they do trickle out at some point in the coming days, it is increasingly obvious that their prospects for passage into law (or even receiving truly serious consideration) in 2013 are quickly fading.   



  1. Doug

    May 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

    It is true that the exact plan will probably be negotiated and adjusted based on iput from many sources….just like almost every bill. There are, however, many parties on board with this modernization idea….many of them democrat in fact….so some version will likely be debated and likely passed in the not so distant future.

  2. Rob Schofield

    May 9, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Earth to Doug: It’s May 9. The guy hasn’t even spelled out the details of a proposal that can be analyzed and we’re gonna pass a comprehensive rewrite of the state tax system in the next six weeks?? If that happened (and it won’t) it would be legislative malpractice of the highest order.

    When something of this magnitude is being contemplated, the proper way to do it is to propose/introduce SOMETHING and then let the citizenry digest and react to it. It should not be “negotiated and adjusted” in secret and then rolled out at the last minute and crammed down everyone’s throats.

    As for the notion that cutting taxes on millionaires and reviving the state sales tax on food somehow amounts to “modernization,” rest assured: that is not how it will be received by the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.

  3. david esmay

    May 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Doug never lets reason and the principles of good governance get in the way of right-wing ideology.

  4. Doug

    May 9, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Then wait for him to introduce it…..duh. Just because one guy says six weeks does not mean it is going to happen. And if it did, malpractice or not if it went through that way ….kinda like Obamacare in the dark of night on Christmas break it would not be the first time a law with a lot of support went quickly. Your hysterics aside it will be debated, negotiated etc. since that is how these things work. So yes…..obviously something will be introduced and debated. Do you want the good old liberal tact of “let’s vote on it so we can find out what is in it”?????????? I am continually amazed by the ignorance of this site, you guys are around here apoplectic about a potential proposal and what heinous damage it is going to do….all the while no details are really available for you to justify being so hysterical…….but you then admit and come up with a hysterical headline that there are no details available. For some reason I envision some goofy puppy running around in circles chasing his tail….that is what this site is like.

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