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In North Carolina, a singular focus on comparing the state’s income tax rates to other states was used to justify massive rate reductions in the 2013 tax plan.  But do tax rates determine whether a state is competitive?

It turns out that income tax rates do not indicate competitiveness of a state’s tax code for two reasons:

  1. The vast majority of people and business make decisions based on other factors
  2. Tax credits and deductions mean that few pay the full income tax rate. Read More

A new study released Tuesday by the North Carolina Bankers Association (NCBA) shows the profound economic impact immigrants have had on North Carolina’s economy.

According to the extensive study by researchers at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School:

  • Hispanic buying power ($9.5 billion) rippled through the state’s economy creating an overall economic impact of $10.3 billion, or $12,895 per Hispanic resident, in 2010.Immigration report
  • Hispanic consumer spending was responsible for creating 92,000 spin-off jobs which, in turn, generated $3.4 billion in spin-off labor income, $460 million in spin-off state and local taxes, $444 million in spin-off federal taxes, and $367 million in spin-off social insurance payments.
  • Consumer spending by all immigrants generated 171,000 spin-off jobs, $6.4 billion in spin-off labor income, $1.4 billion in spin-off state and local taxes, $863 million in spin-off federal taxes, and $693 million in spin-off social insurance payments.
  • For immigrants and Hispanic newcomers,the state spent$2.3 billion and $2.0 billion, respectively, on essential services— k-12 education, health services, and public safety in 2010
  • The state received $2.4 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, in total tax revenue (direct and indirect contributions) from immigrants ($3,869 per capita) and Hispanics ($1,900 per capita) in 2010.
  • $8 in revenue was generated for every $1 the state invested in essential services for immigrants; $5 was generated for every $1 invested in essential services for Hispanics.

The report’s bottom line: The overall economic impact of immigrants and Hispanics has been positive for the state, and underscores the need for an open door immigration policy.

Click here to read “Demographic and Economic Impacts of International Migration to North Carolina.”

Some of the most damning facts about the state of North Carolina’s tax system and what the most recent changes enacted by state leaders really portend for average families — especially the state’s one-of-a-kind repeal of the Earned Income Tax Credit — were explained at a Budget and Tax Center press briefing this morning. This is from a statement the group released after the event:

“The tax plan passed by the General Assembly during the 2013 legislative session resulted in a tax shift onto working families. Advocates from around the state joined together on Tax Day to bring awareness to the plan, which is bad for working families, children, business, and the economy. Under the new plan, which will took effect in January 2014 and will impact income tax filing in 2015, low- and middle-income families will see their taxes go up on average, while wealthy taxpayers and corporations saw large tax cuts.   Read More

Richard Burr 2This week’s LOL, through-the-looking-glass moment in conservative politics revolves around the antiquated Senate “blue slip” process whereby home state Senators like North Carolina’s own Richard Burr can unilaterally and without explanation block federal court nominees — even ones they’ve endorsed previously to the President.

As Think Progress contributor Ian Millhiser reports, proposals in the U.S. Senate to temper the rule (as was done previously by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch when he once chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee) are meeting strong resistance from…Senator Orrin Hatch:

“Rolling back the Senate’s so-called ‘blue slip process’ would be ‘disastrous,’ according to an op-ed written by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on Friday. Which is somewhat of a surprising position for Hatch to take, since he largely abandoned this blue slip process in 2003. Read More

This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right in its characterization of the push by state legislative leaders to plow ahead with their school voucher scheme despite the certainty of lengthy litigation over the issue and the existence of a court injunction against it:

“It really is time to stop calling those who run the N.C. General Assembly conservatives. They are not conservative. They are reckless.

There’s a long list of actions that demonstrates their disregard for what defines the truly conservative. They hand out extravagant amounts to the wealthy in tax cuts and leave the state strapped for basic services. They turn down billions of dollars in federal support for the jobless and the health needs of the working poor. They ignore the principles of sound investment by cutting spending on public schools and higher education. They trample constitutional ideals regarding voting rights and civil rights. They shirk their obligations to be careful stewards of the environment.

The list could go on, but the case is concisely illustrated in the latest turmoil over school vouchers.” Read More