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NC Budget and Tax Center, Poverty and Policy Matters

Education is perhaps the most promising public investment for promoting long-term economic prosperity. That’s why providing low-income children access to preschool and providing a high-quality education to all students in North Carolina’s public schools is vital to our state’s future.

Yet, policymakers have introduced education bills that inconsistently define “poverty” and “at-risk” in ways that would reduce access to early learning for low-income 4-year olds and divert needed public school funding to private schools. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center, Uncategorized

This is the first of a four-part blog series presenting voices from other states that have unsuccessfully pursued versions of comprehensive tax “reform.”

gbpi

Commentary provided by Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute in Atlanta, GA.

As North Carolina considers major tax reform, it’s useful to take a look at a similar effort in Georgia a few years ago, because what started out as a plan to overhaul the state’s tax system in a responsible way that preserved important state investments quickly devolved into a proposal that put ideology and politics above the welfare of Georgians.

The core of Georgia’s problem was similar to what you are now seeing in North Carolina: the pursuit of drastic income tax cuts paired with a failure to replace this with another revenue source makes it impossible for a state to provide the services that people and businesses depend on every day, like roads, schools, and safe communities. Georgia wisely chose to reject such a proposal in 2011, just as North Carolina should this year. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

Comprehensive tax reform remains vague and “short on details” as the 2013 legislative session is beyond its halfway point. Nevertheless, stand-alone bills continue to make their way through the legislative process that would provide tax cuts to the state’s wealthiest individuals. Policymakers have just voted in the House to eliminate the estate tax and both the Senate leadership and the Governor have stated their commitment to do the same.

Proponents of eliminating the estate tax argue that the tax punishes small businesses and small farms in North Carolina. Evidence shows this claim to be false. The estate tax applies to a small number of taxpayers in North Carolina – less than one percent. For tax year 2011, only 23 North Carolina tax filers were subject to the estate tax, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of small businesses and small farms will not a pay an estate tax while heirs of the wealthiest estates in the state will. Read More

Uncategorized

LegislatureAnother day on Jones Street, another day of rolling back the 20th Century. Here are just some of the regressive proposals on tap for today along with the names they ought ot be known by:

The Predatory Lending Protection and Expansion Act — The Senate will vote on this proposal to jack up interest rates and fees on consumer finance loans at a time of record low interest rates.

The Erosion of NC’s Commitment to Public Education Act — The Senate will also take up this proposal to create a separate authority to (sort of) oversee charter schools. The new conservative head of the State Board of Education called the proposal unconstitutional this morning. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

Colorado joined a growing number of states (16 in total) yesterday in recognizing the importance of an affordable post-secondary education to all their residents, regardless of immigration status. The Governor signed legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from state high schools the ability to attend state colleges at the in-state tuition rate.

Meanwhile, a similar proposal in North Carolina is languishing in the Rules Committee, which means young people like Marco Cervantes can’t afford college.

Charging the same tuition rates to all residents is a great way to invest in our state and in our future workforce. The higher tuition rate often charged immigrants—in Colorado the out of state rate is three times in-state tuition—is a barrier for many students and a drain on the economy.  That is because it is increasingly necessary to have some kind of post-secondary degree to attain a family-sustaining job and secure middle-class status.

Today is a great day to call your state reps to voice support for HB 904 and in-state tuition equality. Also, sign the petition here.

As one of the bill sponsors in Colorado noted:  “in Colorado the doors are open and the dream is alive.”

Can North Carolina say the same thing?