Three must read stories from the weekend’s news paint a remarkable picture of the pocketbook changes many North Carolina families are facing these day.
The News & Observer’s David Ranii writes that many North Carolinians are in for a rude awakening as they complete their state taxes this year. Reforms enacted by the NC General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory have shifted the state’s tax burden to many lower-income residents and senior citizens.
Here’s more from the article:
Cedric Johnson, public policy analyst for the N.C. Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center, has a different take on the changes.
“Taxpayers making under ($67,000), which is around 80 percent of taxpayers in North Carolina, will, on average, see their taxes increase under the tax plan,” he said.
The Justice Center’s analysis encompasses both income tax and sales tax. In conjunction with the overhaul of the income tax, the state sales tax was expanded beginning last year. Added to the sales tax list was, among other things, service contracts for appliances and cars and a broad range of admissions charges, including movies and sporting events.
The working poor in particular are taking it on the chin because of the elimination of the earned income tax credit, which was designed to help them make ends meet, Johnson said.
Read Ranii’s full piece here.
Across-the-board raises fade for state workers
The Associated Press’ weekender details how the McCrory administration is hoping to move away from the routine budgetary practice of across-the-board pay raises for state employees. Gary Robertson explains:
McCrory’s two-year spending plan offers neither all public school teachers nor rank-and-file state employees across-the-board raises. Rather, the governor emphasizes improving pay for certain teachers and targeting state employees in hard-to-fill or dangerous law enforcement positions.
The lack of across-the-board raises partly reflects the uncertainty of tax collections, which have grown year-to-year but have fallen short of initial forecasts in a slow-recovering economy. The GOP-led General Assembly might offer across-the-board raises if revenues surge.
But McCrory suggested last week his administration is moving away from the expectation of raises for everyone every year.
For more on how Governor McCrory wants to handle pay raises moving forward click below:
Homeownership rates decline
The final story comes from the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Rebecca Tippett, Director of Carolina Demography, writes that homeownership rates in North Carolina have hit the lowest rate ever:
North Carolina homeownership hit a high of 73.6% in 1981, then declined slightly before rising again and holding steady at the low 70s before 2005. After 2005, homeownership rates declined steadily. North Carolina’s homeownership rate was 66.5% in 2014, the lowest it has been at any point.
(Hat tip Seth Effron)