Continuing Resolution: Leadership #FAIL for GOP in Raleigh

legislatureThe NCGOP has supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.  The Democrats can’t stop a thing.  (They’re all out in the lobby getting ziptied with Bill Barber.)  The NCGOP has the governor AND the lieutenant governor.  Yet, the legislature won’t have a budget agreement in place by July 1 — the start of the fiscal year.

We’re getting a continuing resolution — basically a one month extension on the bureaucracy’s current spending binge.

Gov. Pat submitted a budget a while back — and then seemingly backed out of the whole discussion.  The NC Senate and NC House produced budget packages that BOTH spend more than Bev Perdue’s final budget.  The GOP-dominated chambers differed mainly on (1) how many state jobs to cut, and (2) what taxes to cut and how deeply to cut them.

Senate president Phil Berger led his chamber’s pitch for an aggressive, ambitious overhaul of the state’s tax system — then proceeded to thrown his leadership team under the bus.   House Speaker Thom Tillis echoed concerns first shared by McCrory budget director Art Pope about cutting taxes too quickly and too deeply.

Berger and Tillis BOTH apparently want to move up to the US Senate.  Guys, it’s hard to campaign on your effectiveness as a leader when you’re doing stuff like this.  

Again, this standoff is not about Democrats blocking progress.  This is about REPUBLICANS being  unable to come together behind the concept of shrinking government and cutting taxes.  Smaller government and lower taxes is what separates the NCGOP from the NCDP.  If the GOP goes wobbly on those things, we’re tiptoeing into ‘not a dime’s worth of difference’ territory.

The Americans For Tax Reform Foundation and The Civitas Institute offer up some real food for thought on how our current tax structure affects our state — and how significant reforms and cuts could impact us:

Look at North Carolina: […] It is a net loser in income migration with all neighboring states.

Now look at Tennessee.[I]ncome is pouring in to the state from every one of the surrounding eight states. Tennessee presents an especially interesting example in that it is one of only two states to have eight neighboring states.  Why is Tennessee so successful? What is Tennessee doing to bring all that money in from its neighboring states? Well, for starters, the Volunteer State has no state income tax.

As Travis Brown, author of How Money Walksnotes: “Incentives matter. Taxes may not be the sole reason Americans moved $2 trillion of their AGI between the states, but there is a clear and unmistakable pattern here: Incomes moved to where taxes were lower.”

As state tax reform debates heat up in the Tar Heel state, it’s time for state legislators to take notice.

Virginia, South Carolina AND Tennessee have a lower overall tax burden, and we are losing residents to those states.  I know several native Tar Heels,who have prospered in business and, as a result, moved their residency to Florida, which has no state income tax.   I talked recently with one friend from Florida who was up in Pinehurst on a golf outing:

‘I love North Carolina. It’s where I’m from.  But I don’t like being punished by the tax code for working hard and being successful.  DC is hitting me hard enough, as it is. Those guys in Raleigh, with their confiscatory tax code and big spending ways, have chased a lot of brain power and a lot of revenue out of the state.  Would I move back?  Sure — if they would lower my tax bracket out of oppressive territory to somewhere a little more reasonable.”

My friend suggests that he is one of hundreds — if not thousands — of expatriate Tar Heels who have escaped to  The Sunshine State.  Some demagogues would holler over the idea of giving rich guys like this a tax cut.  Look at it this way:  the state is getting NONE of my friend’s money right now.  I would think that getting ANY percentage of it would be better than getting NONE of it.  

Cutting — or abolishing — state income and / or corporate taxes could bring back a lot of those folks in those states shown on the map in the linked article above.   That’s additional revenue the state could put its hands on without having to resort to toll roads, HOT lanes, or taxes on services.

Are we going to keep playing class warfare, or are we willing to get real about taxes, and encourage people to bring their brain power and dollars BACK into North Carolina to help us turn things around?