Over the course of the past three days, nearly 10,000 North Carolinians signed a petition calling on legislators to address the rising cost of the tax cuts that passed last year. Tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy taxpayers and profitable corporations. The petition was delivered yesterday to legislators and yet early this morning the Senate approved a budget that fails to stop future tax cuts or address the growing gap between the priorities of the state and the adequacy of our revenue system.
As the House debates the budget today, it is time to turn to the Governor for leadership on this issue. He had early in 2013 committed to revenue neutral tax reform but as is increasingly clear the plan passed last year is not revenue neutral and is growing in cost. The income tax cuts alone are projected to cost more than $5 billion over five years. And it is quite possible, as we have written before, that the revenue shortfall for this fiscal year could be as high as $600 million. That would mean the total tax plan would lose the state $1 billion in revenue each fiscal year.
Without those dollars it will be difficult for policymakers to meet the priorities of North Carolinians, sustain their plans for a teacher pay raise or ensure that North Carolina is on competitive ground and delivering a high quality of life to all. Let’s hope the House rethinks the budget and if not that the Governor will lead the state down a more fiscally responsible path.