This week the Republican majority on Jones Street slapped an excise tax on the sale of e-cigarettes. (That’s ON TOP of the sales tax already collected.) In the Senate, the Republican majority even unanimously voted down an attempt to cut that excise tax.
House Republican leaders are pretty excited about getting toll roads approved. (We thought the era of squeezing more money out of working people’s pockets was over.)
Things don’t get much better when you look at the budget making its way through the General Assembly:
Senate Republican leaders want to hike the maximum highway use tax the state can collect on vehicle sales from businesses that buy trucks, and from other North Carolinians who buy recreational vehicles.
Their budget proposal released Wednesday would not change the 3 percent tax rate set for vehicle sales since 1989, and there would be no change in the taxes collected on most car and truck sales.
But it would raise the cap – the maximum tax that can be charged for commercial vehicles (now $1,000) and recreational vehicles (now $1,500). Both caps would rise to $2,000 in January and $3,000 in July 2015. That would be enough to generate an additional $11 million in annual state revenues.
“We’re opposed to that,” said Bob Glaser, president of the N.C. Automobile Dealers Association.
Farmers and businesses would suffer when the highway use tax they pay when they buy heavy commercial trucks is tripled, from $1,000 to $3,000, he said. And he worried that North Carolina truck dealers will lose sales.
“It just drives the sale out of the state,” Glaser said. “You’re going to buy the truck where the lowest tax is.”
North Carolina’s gas tax, higher than in neighboring states, would remain capped at 37.5 cents a gallon in the proposed Senate budget.
The Senate budget also would:
* Increase from $150 to $250 the highway use tax cap paid by people moving their cars to North Carolina from other states, generating an additional $3.2 million a year.
* Reflect improved projections for a 4 percent increase in gas and other transportation tax collections.
* Eliminate a motor fuel tax refund for taxi cabs starting Jan. 1, worth $185,121 per year.
So, riddle me this: HOW are these guys going to honestly campaign against “tax-and-spend” liberals when they approve stuff like this and DO STUFF LIKE THIS?