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This is from this morning’s Fayetteville Observer:

“The state’s fiscal year began last week, but it did so without benefit of a new budget. That’s on hold until the House and Senate can agree on much-needed changes in the tax code.

Unfortunately, the two legislative bodies are miles apart in their tax plans and appear determined to stay that way for a while. Until they settle on the way they’ll tax us, they can’t move forward on the way they’ll spend the money.

The Senate did blink last week. It passed a watered-down version of its tax plan Wednesday. But even that modified bill may be stronger medicine than many state interests want to take. It eliminates corporate income taxes over the next few years and cuts personal income taxes to a flat 5.75 percent.

Legislative analysts conclude that the measure will be most beneficial to the wealthy. Read More

During yesterday’s Finance Committee debate over the latest iteration of the Senate’s billion-dollar tax cut plan, the bill’s sponsors repeatedly referenced the need to improve North Carolina’s economic competitiveness as the chief reason to cut income taxes.  While generating new job creation and economic growth is clearly a top priority for North Carolina, deep tax cuts to corporate and personal income tax rates are just not an effective way to accomplish these goals.

Much of the “evidence” tax cut proponents have cited in support of their proposals have been thoroughly debunked—both by the research of academic economists and the actual experience of states that pursued these policies. For example, out-of-state groups like the Tax Foundation have misleadingly claimed that “23 of 26” academic studies have shown that taxes hurt economic growth, but it turns out that these studies were either misquoted, cherry-picked, or failed to address the issue of tax policy at the state level.

Instead, a full look at the evidence reveals that tax cuts just don’t deliver. A panel of highly-respected economists from the state’s leading universities came before the Senate Finance committee last month and gave their much more rigorous and informed  response—one also at odds with the Tax Foundation study and the views of Senate leadership. In their experience, these economists said, there was no economic consensus that cutting taxes would lead to improved economic growth.  And they also noted that it would be important to consider the negative effects of reducing state spending if that was the way tax cuts were “paid for.”

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One of the most eye-popping parts of the Senate tax reform plan is the proposed elimination of the state’s Corporate Income Tax, for a cost of $1 billion in foregone revenue each year.  Although Senate leaders have expressed high hopes for the economic benefits of this tax cut, they are likely to be disappointed—corporate tax cuts have repeatedly been proved to be a poor strategy for boosting the economy.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this failure is that only a small fraction of the additional income given to these corporations through tax cuts is spent within the state giving the tax cut.  And if North Carolina acts like the rest of the economy, then corporations will put just 10% of this tax cut back into North Carolina. The remaining 90% will be distributed to shareholder across the globe, or invested in other states and nations.

So why will North Carolina receive just 10% of the benefits of scrapping the corporate income tax?  Follow us below the fold to find out.

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The tax plan that North Carolina’s Senate leaders unveiled yesterday should not be mistaken for tax reform. It is, in reality, a plan to gut North Carolina’s schools, public colleges and universities, infrastructure, and other key state investments that promote long-run prosperity.

The plan’s massive tax cuts, which would mainly benefit large corporations and the wealthy, would cost the state $1.3 billion each year once fully in place, roughly the entire annual budget for North Carolina’s community colleges. Blowing such a massive hole in the budget would jeopardize the quality public schools, nationally-recognized public university system, and other assets that have attracted businesses — and jobs — to the state in industries like financial services and scientific research.

Other states that considered similar proposals this year backed off in part because of the reality that huge tax cuts for the wealthy must be paid for with untenable reductions in funding for schools and other state services, tax hikes on others, or both. The North Carolina Senate’s plan ignores that reality and opts instead for wishful thinking.

Claims that the Senate plan will cause North Carolina’s economy to boom are simply empty promises. Any boost from cutting income taxes will be canceled out by the spending cuts or tax increases the state will be forced to adopt to balance its budget.

Elimination of the corporate income tax is largely a giveaway to multistate corporations that — rather than creating jobs — will likely stick the savings in an out-of-state bank or use it to pay higher dividends to stockholders, most of whom don’t live in North Carolina.

The plan’s personal income tax cuts won’t likely create jobs, either. Most small businesses would get a tax cut so small that it wouldn’t even cover one worker’s salary. Plus, small businesses rely on state education, roads, and other services that would degrade year after year under this plan.

To ensure a bright economic future, North Carolina should focus on strengthening the K-12 and higher education systems that have set the state apart in the past but faced deep cuts in recent years due to the recession. Blowing a huge hole in the state budget would make that crucial task much harder. North Carolina has nothing to gain and much to lose from the Senate’s misguided plan.

STATEMENT FROM THE N.C. BUDGET & TAX CENTER:

Senate tax proposal shifts burden from the rich to the poor

RALEIGH (May 7, 2013) — The Senate leadership has released a proposal that will harm working families and the broader economy.

By cutting income taxes and expanding the sales tax to more goods and services, the Senate leadership has pursued a shift in tax burden from the rich to the poor, not tax reform. The result is a plan that not only requires low-and middle-income families to pay more while the highest income families pay less, but also reduces the state’s ability to invest in a foundation for economic growth by cutting state revenues by $1 billion each year. That is equivalent to the entire community college system OR the combined budgets of the DHHS Divisions of Aging, Child Development, and Child Health and the Judicial Branch and NC Biotechnology Center.