Moral Monday priorities cost $7 billion, $10 billion? Not so, BTC expert says

Defenders of the N.C. legislature’s conservative agenda have recently touted reports claiming that implementing the goals of the Moral Monday protest movement would cost anywhere from $7 to $10 billion, a sum of money that would mean a drastic rise in taxes.

Images from last year's Moral Monday protests.

Images from last year’s Moral Monday protests.

But that’s not the case, according to Alexandra Forter Sirota, the director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.

Sirota analyzed the requests made by the Moral Monday protestors (much of which was to restore cuts made in recent years)  and found that a more realistic price tag would be $1 billion, all of which would be covered if the tax cuts to large businesses and wealthy residents allowed last year were reversed. (Scroll down to see more about her analysis.)

“[I]t is clear that there is a fiscally responsible path forward for meeting the priorities of North Carolinians to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable citizens can access health insurance, our children can be ready and prepared to learn at school with quality childhood experiences, our workforce can be trained for the jobs of the future, working families can be supported as they struggle to get by on low wages and the human rights an ability to access a fair justice system for all North Carolinians can be protected,” Sirota wrote in a post last week.

(Note: The Budget and Tax Center and N.C. Policy Watch are both part of the N.C. Justice Center, a nonprofit group that advocates for low-income state residents.)

Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf

Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf

Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf
That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for additional revenue to meet the state’s pressing needs that have been unaddressed since the start of the Great Recession. – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/12/a-fiscally-responsible-way-to-address-moral-monday-priorities-exists/#sthash.dttOcdNk.dpuf

The Moral Monday protests over the Republican-led state legislature’s conservative agenda have attracted considerable attention from national media outlets over the last year. Led by  N.C.  NAACP state president Rev. William Barber, protesters have asked for changes to the state’s election laws, cuts to public education and health services and last year’s tax reform package that gave significant tax relief to large businesses and wealthy individuals. (Click here to read the 14-point agenda sent by Barber to legislative leaders)

The most recent reiteration of the high price of the Moral Monday agenda came yesterday, when Forbes published an editorial by Patrick Gleason, a staffer at Americans for Tax Reform,  Grover Norquist’s conservative, anti-tax think-tank, restating the $7 billion price tag figure. Gleason based his estimates on figures released by Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger’s office.

From Gleason’s column:

 The non-partisan fiscal staff found that the Moral Monday agenda, if implemented, would require state lawmakers to raise taxes by $7 billion. For some context, such a tax hike would increase the North Carolina general fund by a whopping 35 percent. The Moral Monday plan would also necessitate a nearly ten-fold increase in the state corporate income tax, taking the rate from 6 to over 50 percent. Combined with the federal corporate income tax, the highest in the world, if Rev. Barber and crew had their druthers, companies would face a combined corporate tax rate of over 80 percent on profits earned in North Carolina. The likely result of such an onerous tax would be a mass evacuation of companies from Research Triangle Park, Charlotte, and elsewhere in the state.

Civitas, the conservative policy group funded largely with donations from McCrory budget director Art Pope’s family foundation, ran an article  earlier this month claiming that the Moral Monday demands would cost $10 billion.

Sirota, the BTC director, found both the $7 billion and $10 billion figures were inflated and included massive expansions of programs that went far beyond what the Moral Monday protesters want.

She went on to calculate the actual costs of the Moral Monday agenda, and found that the changes to restore cuts would break even (and have a $106 million surplus) with what the state lost in revenue when it passed last year’s tax reform package.

From the BTC post:

Moral Monday Amendment Table

 

 

 

7 Comments

  1. LayintheSmakDown

    June 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Yeah, the analysis looks great! Oh, you left out the items that actually cost the most….and that progressives want the most. Where is the healthcare for all as an example? Wait, didn’t you guys post this last week too, go back to that article and you will see the other high cost items you conveniently left off.

  2. ML

    June 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Yes universal healthcare is the ultimate goal, however, being a reasonable personal acknowledged that compromise must be made and that progress happens incrementally.

    There are many things like minded progressive want but in being a progressive we understand that progress can be slow and arduous. Thus there is a difference between (6-10 billion) between the actual proposal and the so called wish list of the moral Monday crowd, which should be pointed out does mirror and Democratic Party platform.

    Nonetheless if you had read the previous article you referenced you would have noticed that the author made similar distinctions between the realistic propositions and the ultimate goals of progressives. We know it is not feasible to institute them all at once as republicans have seen with incredible backlash their attempts to push through every piece of legislation on their wish lists. All you end up with are court battles, protests, and angry citizens. You must ease in change.

    To say it was conveniently left off is another misstep in your attack on the articles credibility. Budget proposal add and drop items based on feasibility in order to make it manageable. There is no ploy here other than to provide another reasonable option outside that of the gov, house, and senate proposals.

    If you do not agree with me please do not attack me personally, do not attack my bias bc it is clear and I’ve acknowledged it so that would be redundant, please don’t suggest I am Alan or a paid troll as I have not done so in your respect in a while, and please provide a cogent argument that explains why this budget is far from reasonable.

    Remember the primary issue here should be focused on the budget cuts having to pay for the tax cuts and the failure to provide a revenue neutral tax plan as promised by the governor.

    I respectfully await your reply.

  3. ML

    June 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Yes universal healthcare is the ultimate goal, however, being a reasonable personal acknowledged that compromise must be made and that progress happens incrementally.

    There are many things like minded progressive want but in being a progressive we understand that progress can be slow and arduous. Thus there is a difference (about 6-10 billion) between the actual proposal and the so called wish list of the moral Monday crowd, which should be pointed out does not mirror the Democratic Party platform.

    Nonetheless if you had read the previous article you referenced you would have noticed that the author made similar distinctions between the realistic propositions and the ultimate goals of progressives. We know it is not feasible to institute them all at once as republicans have seen with incredible backlash their attempts to push through every piece of legislation on their wish lists. All you end up with are court battles, protests, and angry citizens. You must ease in change.

    To say it was conveniently left off is another misstep in your attack on the articles credibility. Budget proposal add and drop items based on feasibility in order to make it manageable. There is no ploy here other than to provide another reasonable option outside that of the gov, house, and senate proposals.

    If you do not agree with me please do not attack me personally, do not attack my bias bc it is clear and I’ve acknowledged it so that would be redundant, please don’t suggest I am Alan or a paid troll as I have not done so in your respect for a while, and please provide a cogent argument that explains why this budget is far from reasonable.

    Remember the primary issue here should be focused on the budget cuts having to pay for the tax cuts and the failure to provide a revenue neutral tax plan as promised by the governor.

    I respectfully await your reply.

  4. Alan

    June 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Look Papa Smurf, I got to post 1st again!

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    June 19, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    ML, that is just TL;DR. Besides, who needs to read after that first sentence that just reveals the dead end path you want to go down. Just look at how well the VA works for your progressive nirvana and imagine everyone having to wait fro months on end to see their doctor. Imagine how many of the poor and middle class will die untimely deaths waiting. But I guess that is the progressive nirvana.

  6. Alan

    June 19, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    TIN….FOIL….HAT….CRAZY…. TALK….

    I do believe “the poor and middle class will die untimely deaths waiting” is actually this states GOP “nirvana”. Suddenly concerned about the healthcare outcomes of the poor, the middle class, and the veterans? Then expand Medicare.

  7. LayintheSmakDown

    June 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    That single payer thing is the progresso nirvana, not sure where you associate the GOP with that. From what I see/believe is you get the government out of the way and it allows innovation to take over and prices go down while regulation goes up. Take say a common product such as a flat screen tv. Yes once the technology came out you paid thousands for one, but the market demand produced an efficient supply chain so you can go to Wally World and get a 32 inch flat screen for less than $250. If the government was in charge of flat screens you would have to wait in line five years for a $5,000 TV that would not have the right plug for your wall or cable provider. Just expand that to our current healthcare system such as the VA and you see what I mean.