Legislators are spinning us that a lot of road work needs to be done statewide, but there just isn’t enough money out there to do it. So, they are selling us a piece of legislation as a gas tax “cut” that is really a long-term gas tax hike to help pay for their and Gov. Pat McCrory’s wish list.
While all of this is going on, the governor and the legislative leadership are pushing a bill called the “NC Competes Act.” (Someone in our fair capital city was nice enough to leak a copy of a draft of that bill to us.)
The honorables are being asked to approve giving Gov. Pat $45 million in corporate welfare to hand out to economic development targets. Never mind that they shot down $20 million — earmarked for the same purpose — at the end of the last legislative session.
If you read deeper into the NC Competes draft bill, you’ll find some even more nauseating details, such as:
- Extension of sales tax refunds for airlines. State law has allowed for refunds on sales tax payments on airlines’s jet fuel purchases above and beyond the $2.5 million mark. That break was slated to expire on Jan. 1, 2016. NC Competes extends that break to January 1, 2020.
- Tax-free electricity for data centers. Interestingly, the bill gets very specific on which data centers get this goody. The qualifying data center(s) must have promised to invest at least $75 million within FIVE YEARS of January 2012. For what it’s worth, data centers are typically packed with a ton of information technology, and a minimal number of employees.
I wonder what kind of breaks YOU or I could get if we had our own lobbyists running around Raleigh greasing palms? Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE tax breaks. I resent getting shaken down for more tax revenue while multi-million dollar corporations, blessed with teams of lobbyists, are getting sweetheart deals.
Hiking the gas tax takes more money out of my and your pockets. Hiking the gas tax also increases the cost of doing business for EVERYONE. It will hit small businesses — who don’t have lobbyists buying them sweetheart deals in Raleigh — particularly hard. The cost of shipping supplies to producers goes up. The cost of delivering finished goods to retailers or customers goes up. The cost of construction goes up. The only winners? The bureaucracy and the politicians. They get more money to play with.
KILL THIS BILL.