How low have things sunk in the Raleigh policy debate? This low: A front group for corporations and greedy billionaires is bringing a has-been Washington lobbyist to town to promote higher taxes on poor and middle class North Carolinians and some are calling it a “tax reform” event.
Grover Norquist is about “reforming” tax policy in the same way that Rush Limbaugh is about “reforming” American political discourse. Norquist is a well-funded bully who has done much to ruin the well-being of the Republic. His most infamous quote — that he wants to shrink government down to the size at which it can be “drowned in the bathtub” bespeaks the hatred and violent underpinnings of his noxious, greed-is-good “philosophy.”
Norquist will confirm the dishonesty and hypocrisy that lies at the heart of his work today when he plugs the regressive Berger-Rucho Senate tax plan that raises taxes for middle-class and low-income families while reducing taxes for the wealthiest North Carolinians and most profitable corporations.
Here are some fun facts about the Berger-Rucho plan that the good people at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center pointed out in a statement they released yesterday in anticipation of Norquist’s visit:
“Cutting state income taxes and expanding the sales tax will shift the tax load to middle-class and low-income taxpayers while giving wealthy taxpayers and profitable corporations a tax cut.
Most North Carolinians spend a higher percentage of their income on goods and services on which sales tax is charged than do the very wealthy. That’s because most people have little left over to save. Expanding the sales tax to more items will only make the share of their income paid in sales taxes go up for middle-class and low-income households. At the same time, because Senator Berger’s plan flattens the state income tax rate to a low of 4.5 percent, wealthy taxpayers will receive a significant tax cut. By the Tax Foundation’s calculations released by Senator Berger the proposed changes will result in a $1,000 annual tax increase for a family with two children living in poverty while a millionaire with two children would receive a tax cut of $55,000. Preliminary estimates of publicly available details on the plan suggest that 80 percent of taxpayers would experience a tax increase under this proposal.
Vital public services would be at risk.
Under full implementation of Senator Berger’s plan, North Carolina would have $1 billion less per year after 2016 for educating our children, training our workforce, maintaining our parks and natural resources, protecting the health and safety of our communities, and other investments crucial to North Carolina’s future. How much is $1 billion? It’s roughly equivalent to the annual budget of the entire North Carolina community college system.
Tax cuts aren’t tax reform. Tax cuts won’t create jobs.
Supporters claim that tax cuts will actually increase state revenue and boost economic growth. But that’s wrong. Overwhelming evidence says just the opposite. There is in fact no connection between state income tax rates and economic or job growth, a 2012 study by the Congressional Research Service found,
In reality, states with higher income taxes turn out to have economic conditions comparable to, and often better than, states that have no personal income tax, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Not only that, but states with low income tax rates actually have lower employment growth and lower median household income than states traditionally seen as having high taxes, according to a recent study by Good Jobs First and the Iowa Policy Project.
Much more important to a state’s economic success than tax rates are such factors as the kinds of industries that are located there, having a well-educated, high-skilled workforce, and the presence of research centers like major universities. That’s what boosts per capita income growth. And that’s why states that slash taxes likely will suffer in the long run because they lack the resources needed to invest in education and other building blocks of economic growth.”
Fortunately, Norquist’s time of great influence in the nation’s capital appears to be on the wane and more and more people have finally awakened to the deceitfulness that underlies his shtick. Let’s hope his trip to North Carolina helps expedite this decline.