Today during a session of the Revenue Laws study committee of the General Assembly (normally a cure for boredom – as in it will give you a new definition of…), committee co-chair Senator John Kerr went on a tear about state taxes. His speech had me on the edge of my seat, barely containing a shout out of "Amen."
During a mostly technical and mild-mannered discussion of North Carolina's gift tax Senator Kerr rattled off a flurry of quotables on tax fairness. For those of you unfamiliar with our gift tax it contributes a scant $18 million a year to state coffers and is meant to keep people from gifting away their estate bit by bit over time so as to avoid the estate tax. Here are a few of the highlights from Senator Kerr's comments:
"The only people who are paying taxes are the working people." (I'm not making this up. Clearly he read the latest report from the Budget & Tax Center that concludes just this.)
"We've got enough loopholes now and everybody knows what they are." (He went on and on about how truly wealthy people know just how to get out of their estate tax responsibilities and we shouldn't make it easier.)
"We have some awful needs in this state." (Here he was speaking about the potential $18 million revenue loss. This part of the rant included a specific mention of the mental health crisis).
"We're better off without them." (Here he was speaking about anecdotal evidence that some super rich folks that move to Florida to avoid NC's gift tax.)
"Not for the greedy, but the needy." (Here he was speaking about the direction in which our policies should be headed.)
He went on and on about how attractive we are as a state and how thousands of people move here every day. He credited our status as a "low tax" state and our fiscal responsibility.
I doubt he's a daily reader of the Progressive Pulse, but I'd like to say, "Thank you, Senator Kerr, for speaking truth to power today. If you keep speaking it, we here at the Budget & Tax Center, will keep giving you the data to back you up."
(As fate would have it, Senator Kerr and co-chairman Rep. Paul Leubke had their name placards reversed during today's hearing. I know. Weird, huh?)