The WSJ LOVES Raleigh’s tax cut deal

legislatureWe heard a lot about major tax reform during the 2012 elections.  Steve Moore — a nationally renowned economist, free market fan, and editorial board member at The Wall Street Journal — was fretting at one point that the promise of 2012 would never be fulfilled.

Now that a tax deal has been reached, Moore is one of its biggest cheerleaders:

After months of deliberations and legislative slips and slides, North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and the GOP leaders who run the House and Senate have finally reached a deal on tax cuts. The plan is an impressive trifecta that will slash the personal income tax to 5.75% from 7.75%; cut the corporate tax to 5% from 6.9%; and eliminate the state death tax.

“This is a big deal for growth, and we still think we can come back in the next couple of years and get the rates even lower,” says state Senate President Phil Berger. More than anyone, Mr. Berger gets credit for making this cut happen when it looked like it might die a slow death. State think tanks like the Civitas Institute, which provided the intellectual ammunition, also deserve praise.

Moore also provides an inside peek at some hiccups that nearly derailed the deal:

Along the way there were lots of impasses. The Senate had originally passed a more ambitious tax bill with a flat, 4% income tax rate and a gradual phase-out of the corporate and franchise taxes. The plan would have eliminated income tax deductions while squeezing out the exemptions from the sales tax. But the special interests, especially the housing lobby, revolted, and that plan died in the House.

The deal was held up in the House for more than a month in part because the Republican speaker, Thom Tillis, fretted about the revenue losses. Our sources tell us that Mr. Tillis wouldn’t accept tax rates as low as the Senate wanted to go because he wanted to preserve higher levels of spending. According to one Raleigh political insider, “Tillis fought to save every carve out for special interests in the state, including the realtors, big hospitals, and developers.”

On Friday, Moore came out with another column blasting that lefty group-temper-tantrum known as Moral Monday as well as offering further defense of the tax deal and the GOP legislative agenda.