Phil Berger, Senate filet the state tax code, while Thom Tillis triangulates

tillis listen



Bill Clinton staged an incredible comeback in 1996, following the HillaryCare fiasco, by practicing triangulation — positioning himself somewhere between the liberalism of his fellow Democrats and the conservatism of the Republicans.    NC House Speaker Thom Tillis & his team — eyeing a 2014 US Senate run — have apparently taken note of Clinton’s successful mid-90s strategy.

The GOP majority in the state Senate has been pushing through some serious, respectable conservative reforms — reducing the renewable energy mandate,  charter school reform, voter ID, an ObamaCare block, and NOW the most significant tax reduction proposal in decades. The Senate GOP tax reform proposal looks a little like this:

[T]he Senate Republican plan would reduce the top individual income tax rate currently at 7.75 percent to 4.5 percent over the next three years; it also would reduce the corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 6 percent. North Carolina’s individual and corporate income tax rates are currently the highest compared to surrounding states. The website said there would also be a zero percent individual income tax rate for the lowest-income residents.

The sales tax rate also would go down, but Berger didn’t give a percentage. The base combined state and local sales tax rate is currently 6.75 percent. He also didn’t give details about how the sales tax would be changed, but any plan is sure to increase the number of services subject to the sales tax.

“Everyone pays their fair share. No one get special breaks or special loopholes,” Berger said. Berger added the plan will ensure “mechanics and lawyers are treated the same” and that “hairstylists and accountants (are) both taxed fairly.”

Senate Republicans rolled out Monday evening the frame of their tax overhaul plan for North Carolina that they say will cut income tax rates while expanding the scope of the sales tax.

OK.  So, we’re moving the state’s tax policy AWAY from confiscation and more toward a consumption-based system.  Those who consume more, pay more.

One thing that concerns me is the fact that this will add a significant burden to small service providers as well as increase the cost of all kinds of services during trying economic times.   We’re also NOT hearing a lot about cutting spending or the size and scope of the bureaucracy.    (Gov. Pat’s budget, which got roundly praised on Jones Street, spends $400 million more than Bev’s last budget.) Government costs a lot, and makes EVERYTHING in life more expensive.  We need some limited government to go along with our tax reform, ladies and gentlemen.  But this is a good start.

The Senate GOPers — in all likelihood to bypass and neutralize McClatchy — make their pitch in a website that includes an informative video and a detailed Q&A section.

And what are we getting from The General Assembly’s lower chamber.  We got a watered-down voter ID bill — which allows expired driver’s licenses, student IDs and Lumbee Tribe ID cards among other things  to be used as proof of identity at polling places.   We also get a warning from Speaker Thom on Facebook about “overreaching.’‘  You know, all of that inconvenient conservative stuff that the mainstream media will probably use to beat him over the head during the GOP primary for US Senate.