The Senate Rules Committee gave approval Friday to a suite of constitutional changes that would undercut our state’s economy permanently by setting a low, arbitrary income tax rate and limiting access to the state’s savings in times of emergency.
It is an entirely unnecessary move that seeks to permanently limit future budget choices to the ones that our current leaders prioritize above all else. It is not only an insult to the wisdom of the framers of our state Constitution, but also to future North Carolinians and legislators whose priorities may differ from their own.
To recap just why such a move is completely unnecessary, let’s review how policymakers have already pursued these approaches to budgeting through public policy.
First, policymakers have already set a low, arbitrary income tax rate for individuals and profitable corporations, which will drop to 5.499 percent for individuals in January 2017 and eventually to 3 percent for businesses. These changes began in 2013 and will continue to phase in, ultimately reducing the dollars available to invest in schools, parks and public health by at least $2.5 billion each year. More than two-thirds of the tax cut from the low individual income rate has benefited the top 20 percent of taxpayers. Policymakers continue to pursue a shift to the sales tax to make up for the revenue loss, which means the tax load has shifted to middle- and low-income taxpayers. Read more