As tax filing season rolls around, many North Carolina families and communities across the state will benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), an important tax break designed to reward work and offset federal payroll and income taxes paid by low-wage workers. But as the latest issue of Prosperity Watch explains, some communities rely on this credit more than other communities, since some are more economically distressed than others. As a result, there are significant differences across the state’s counties in terms of the percentage of tax filers in each county that claim this credit, and many of the counties with the highest percentage of filers are clustered in one of the state’s poorest regions. See Prosperity Watch for details.
A report released by the Program Evaluation Division within the NC General Assembly highlights that North Carolina ranks in the middle of the pack, or better, among states for various taxes and spending metrics. For FY2009-10, metrics for which North Carolina ranked in the top half of states include:
- Per capita state expenditures (12th lowest among states);
- Per capita state and local taxes (17th lowest among states);
- State and local taxes as a percentage of personal income (23rd lowest among states); and
- Per capita state taxes (24th lowest among states).
These rankings disprove the claim that state spending and taxes in North Carolina are out of line. Our state ranks in the middle of the pack or on the lower end among states. Read More…
This afternoon, legislators serving in the NC House are scheduled to approve HB 82, a bill that would reduce the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 5 percent to 4.5 percent of the federal credit for tax year 2013. Worse yet, legislators have already stated that they will not extend this important tax credit beyond its sunset date at the end of the year. Doing so would shift the tax load to the state’s lowest-earning families and could push more North Carolinians into poverty, according to a new report released today by the NC Budget and Tax Center.
North Carolina’s tax system does little to help low-earning workers and their children who are living on the margins; it actually makes it harder for them to meet basic needs. Even with the state EITC—which provides workers earning low wages with a credit to offset their total state and local tax contributions—moderate- and low-income working families still pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes compared to the upper-middle class and wealthy. As policymakers consider changes to the state’s tax code this legislative session, it is critical to maintain this important tax-equity tool. Read More…
In today’s “Friday Follies” edition of his column Chris Fitzsimon reminds us of how remarkably prescient House Speaker Thom Tillis was in his October 2011 speech to Madison County Republicans in which spelled out his plan for dividing and conquering people “on assistance” in our state. Now, as Chris notes, the dividing and conquering has moved on to outright punishment.
In case you’ve forgotten the specifics of Tillis’ offensive remarks, we’re happy to offer an encore presentation below.
This morning, the House Finance Committee voted to reduce the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provided to low-income working families across the state. More than 883,000 North Carolinians claimed the credit in 2010, which provides working families with dollars to spend in their local communities. Each year the state updates its tax code to address changes made to the federal tax code during the previous year, as North Carolina’s tax code is linked to the federal tax code.
Improvements to the federal EITC were extended as part of the fiscal cliff deal, including eliminating the marriage penalty and extending the credit to larger family sizes. In decoupling the state credit from the federal credit, the Finance Committee voted to reduce the state EITC from 5% to 4.5% of the federal credit for tax year 2013. The result is a cut of $11 million to the state credit.
The EITC helps boost the wages of low-income families and helps them pay for basic necessities. Cutting the tax credit will further challenge the ability of these families to make ends meet and minimize its ability to address the upside down nature of our state and local tax system. The House finance committee also voted to cut the Work Opportunity tax credit. However, the committee did vote to increase the amount of itemized deductions that individuals can claim, which would largely benefit high-income individuals.