NC Senate Bill 75

By / Letters to the Editor / Tuesday, 09 May 2017 04:00

Dear Editor,
NC Senate Bill 75 is slowly working its way through the Senate and is currently in Committee.  This bill places a Constitutional Amendment in effect that would limit the ability of the State to raise the State Income Tax above 5.5%. Currently, even though our personal income tax rate is 5.49%, the State Constitution allows the legislature to raise the rate up to 10%. This was done in 1935 when the State Constitution was amended raising the top rate from 6% to a current level of 10%. The 6% rate had been placed in the NC Constitution in 1920.
I do not know about you but it has been my experience that if there is money available, Legislators will eventually find a way to tap it.  It is also my personal belief that money is better in my wallet then in the States' coffers.  I believe that I can best decide how to spend the money I have earned.
Critics push the narrative that such a Constitutional Amendment limits the ability of future General Assembly's to fund necessary programs. The fact is that the proposed amendment returns to the people the power to raise taxes.  Don't you believe that we are better judges of when they need to raise rates?
Or have you forgotten what happened when Democrats controlled the State Government for over 100 years?  Income taxes were at their highest.
They never had enough money to fund the pork projects they supported nor the additional spending on new government entitlement programs. Thanks to Civitas research, we have some examples of their never ending quest for additional revenues:
Authorized local governments to add another 0.5% to sales tax – 1986
Increased state gas tax by 2 cents per gallon plus a new 3% sales tax on wholesale price of gas – 1986
Increased corporate tax rate from 6% to 7% – 1987
Raised excise tax on liquor from 22.5% to 28% – 1987
Increased state sales tax rate from 3% to 4% – 1991
Raised tax on insurance premiums from 1.75% to 1.9% – 1991
Increased corporate tax rate from 7% to 7.75% and levied an additional surtax from ’91 to ’94 – 1991
Added a 7.75% personal income tax rate for income above $100,000 – 1991
Motor fuels tax increased by ½ cent – 1991
Increased cigarette tax from 2 cents per pack to 5 cents; levied a 2% tax on wholesale price of other tobacco products – 1991
Imposed a 1% gross receipts tax on movie admissions – 1998
Increased state sales tax rate from 4% to 4.5% (supposed to expire in 2003) – 2001
Created an 8.25% personal income tax bracket for highest income households (supposed to expire in 2003) – 2001
Imposed 5% sales tax on satellite television service – 2001
Renewed the “temporary” 4.5% state sales tax rate – 2003
Renewed the “temporary” 8.25% income tax rate – 2003
Increased tax on telecommunications from 6% to 7% – 2005
Increased sales tax on liquor from 6% to 7% – 2005
Increased cigarette tax from 5 cents per pack to 35 cents – 2005
Extended the 8.25% income tax rate for another 2 years – 2005
Increased tax on home satellite services from 5% to 7% – 2005
Renewed (again) the “temporary” 4.5% state sales tax rate – 2005
Made permanent ¼ penny of the 2001 “temporary” state sales tax increase – 2007
Increased state sales tax rate from 4.75% to 5.75% (also in 2009 as part of the “Medicaid swap,” 0.5% of the local sales tax was shifted to the state) – 2009
Changed the state gas tax cap to a floor, ensuring higher gas tax – 2009
New sales tax on online click-through sales and digital products – 2009
Increased taxes on beer, wine and liquor – 2009
Increased tax on cigarettes and tobacco products – 2009
Created a “temporary” 3% surcharge on tax bill for corporate income taxes – 2009
Created a “temporary” surcharge beginning at 2% for personal incomes over $60K – 2009
 The fact is before Republicans took over the maximum tax rate in NC was 8.25%.  
It was climbing closer and closer to the Constitutional maximum of 10%.  Do you really think as the legislature evolves and our new Governor finds more programs he wishes to fund, there will not be temptations to bump up the income tax rate?  Since the Republicans took over the legislature in 2010 and added the Governor's Office in 2012, taxes have dropped. However, are you willing to bet they will never lose control again?
The best solution for North Carolinians is to join with other advocacy groups and push for the Constitutional Amendment that caps the State Income Tax rate at 5.5%. This proposal is fully supported by such groups as:
Americans for Prosperity
Concern Veterans for America
Coastal Carolina Accountability Project
Join me in telling our Legislators to support Senate Bill 75 and return even more power to the People!!
Bill Moore
Kure Beach

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