An article in today’s News & Observer  by John Frank focuses on the vague tax plan presented by Senator Phil Berger earlier this week. Preliminary projections by the Fiscal Research Division indicate that the majority of taxpayers would see a tax increase once the plan is fully implemented, reports Frank. Accordingly, Berger’s claim that his tax plan would represent the biggest tax cut in North Carolina’s history would instead represent the greatest tax shift in the state’s history, raising the tax load on middle and low income North Carolinians while providing the highest income North Carolinians with a tax cut.
The news article highlights that lower income families and those with children would likely see their tax load increase while higher income individuals – particularly single individuals with no children – would get a tax cut. The preliminary findings by legislative fiscal analysts are not surprising and align with outcomes for existing tax proposals that would cut income tax rates and rely more on a consumption tax that would apply to more goods and services.
As more details of Berger’s plan become public, this tax shift that provides a tax cut for high income North Carolinians while raising taxes for middle and low income North Carolinians will become more and more apparent. Senator Rucho, who joined Berger during his press conference and lauded the merits of the plan, is quoted in the N&O article as cautioning that the plan is a “trial balloon.” If it is indeed a “trial balloon,” it is a costly one and certainly too risky to bet North Carolina’s future.