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The Republican powers-that-be in Raleigh – the House, Senate and Governor – locked horns last week in a three-way tug-of-war, each offering their own road to economic salvation.
In a matter of hours the conflagration (over tax reform and whose loopholes to close or not close) spawned a welter of statistics and charts even Einstein couldn’t understand – and while economics is generally a less reliable science than voodoo, one chart seems to sum it all up. (If I’ve got it wrong, I expect I’ll be hearing from the aggrieved parties shortly.)
As a tribe, in a way, the Senators are very old-fashioned. They can be blunt. And tough. And they’ve been accused of being hard-headed. But they’re also a  tribe of ‘purists’ with an old-fashioned creed –  they believe in their bones the road to economic salvation starts with less government and lower taxes. And that’s what the ole bull mooses set out to do – cut taxes. And their plan does just that: It cuts taxes $170 million next year.
The House tribe is more modern. And diverse. And it’s mechanically minded. Like a tribe of modern day gnomes with abacuses, before taking a single step they measure, analyze, and calculate (the gain and loss and risk) of any bill that lands on their doorstep. For months they’ve been watching the Senators offend folks by closing tax loopholes or slashing programs like The Rural Center and, at the end of the day, when they were done weighing and calculating they decided the whole thing was too needlessly reckless for their taste – so they produced their own plan to raise taxes $45 million next year. (To give House tribe full credit, they also took one more step: They cut taxes further down the road, in future years. But of course it has to be said future tax cuts aren’t written in stone.)
And finally, there’s the Governor’s plan – his reforms allow taxes to increase by $345 million next year but, then, like the House, he too reduces taxes in future years.
Amid all this arguing and yowling, there seems to be one number –  called “Consensus Revenue Growth” – all three tribes agree on. That magic number tells how much people would pay to Raleigh in taxes if the legislature simply left the current tax laws in place: It’s $20.46 billion.
So here’s the whole picture boiled down as simple as I know how:

Total Taxes Paid
Over the Next Year
Under Current Tax Law
$20.46 billion
Senate Plan
$20.3 billion
House Plan
$20.5 billion
Governor’s Plan
$20.8 billion
And, in a nutshell, that’s what the rhubarb comes down to: Should taxes go up, down, or stay about the same?



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2 comments on “Up, Down, or About the Same

  1. dap916 says:

    Sort of looks the same, Carter. But, numbers are deceiving, aren’t they? The big question and what should be shown, me thinks, is WHERE the money will come from in the way of taxes. The NC state government has one source of revenue..well, mostly at least. That is taxes. A state…any state (ALL states)…has to rely on taxes to fund its endeavors and to do the business of “the people” of course. WHERE those funds come from and where the taxes are is the issue far more than how much is taxed. I think your presentation kinda misses that point a bit.

  2. Choo says:

    Taxes are the major form of revenue as stated by Dap, but what they are spent on is also an issue. I would love to see what % of citizens of N.C. pay taxes and how many don’t. I also would love to see the break out by income. My guess is the poor and low income folks pay all the taxes. We could go the way of the northeast and let the unions take over and force all the baggage to the top income earners, that way business could leave our area and we could become another rust belt. I think N.C. has it’s share of transplants from the northeast who already fought that battle, and that’s why Republicans control the legislature here. The Republican Party in North Carolina didn’t just smart it’s way to control after over 100 years. Something else accounts for that shift. We might look at those damn yankees we all complained about for years. Some of them grew a brain.

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