There is little doubt that the North Carolina General Assembly intends to consider ways to overhaul the state’s tax code, though legislative leaders have thus far been coy about the specific changes they intend to pursue. Last week, however, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger offered a glimpse behind the curtain in predicting much lower individual income and corporate taxes — and perhaps their elimination.
While North Carolina should address areas of the tax code adversely affecting North Carolina’s competitiveness, Berger intimated that lawmakers might pursue expansion of the sales tax that could include a levy on food. While the Legislature is correct to examine all aspects of taxation, it should not seek to balance its books on the backs of the least fortunate, as a food tax attempts to do.
Throughout his campaign, Gov. Pat McCrory spoke often about the need to overhaul a tax code that was outdated and insufficient for the state. North Carolina’s approach has its roots in the 1930s and reflected the fiscal reality of a state struggling through the Great Depression. It does not reflect the modern economy which trends toward services rather than the production of goods.
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