The blog below is written by TAPster Daniel Gilligan, a policy consultant from Raleigh who has a keen eye for legislative follies:
“New taxes shouldn’t be considered tax increases. That was the message from Republican legislators after they unveiled a state budget that includes over $200 million of new sales taxes over the next two years.
“Then the really fun part: money collected from these new taxes can only go to rural counties – because Republicans now say those folks are not getting enough tax money!
“Nothing could sum up the ideological knots that North Carolina’s Republican leaders have had to tie themselves in to try to reconcile these new tax policies, with the tax cut bunkum they’ve been selling for so long.
“Then there’s the rollback of their own tax ‘reform.’ After spending the last two years defending their tax shift and claiming they only wanted to simplify the code, they’ve caved to “special interests” (also known as those with overwhelming medical expenses) and put back in, as Sen. Bob Rucho would call them, ‘special tax privileges’ they had previously done away with.
“North Carolina’s Republicans two-front retreat on taxes this week makes one thing clear, their ‘tax philosophy’ isn’t about smaller government so much as protecting big donors and big business.
“Don’t’ worry, if you were naïve enough to believe what Republicans said when they promised to cut your taxes – Berger, McCrory, and company have still got their priorities straight. While they managed to find a way to give millions in new tax breaks to their millionaire friends and corporate sponsors, they just didn’t quite get to doing much of anything for our schools. Our per-student spending still won’t be back to where it was before 2008, and our 42nd ranking in teacher pay looks plenty safe.
“We can all sit back and take comfort that, while Republicans’ rhetoric on taxes may be ever-changing, their priorities of big money before public schools remains their Northern Star.
“At least there’s an election next year, so our schools are bound to at least get sent some window dressing. Here’s hoping no teacher’s car needs to go into the shop between now and then.”