@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

AFP pledges to 'have the backs' of tax-cutting lawmakers

Posted April 16, 2013

— Americans for Prosperity will spend $500,000 over the next 90 days on a campaign meant to encourage lawmakers to follow through on pledges to simplify North Carolina's tax code and lower taxes.

"Most of this is carrots," said Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina director for the national conservative organization. Asked if the group would launch negative ads if reform stalled, Woodhouse said, "The plan right now is to be more positive, but I will never rule that out."

Republican leaders who now control both the House and Senate, as well as many of their rank-and-file members, ran on pledges to reform the state tax code. Proposals are being drafted in both chambers that would lower corporate and personal income tax rates, drawing more of the state's revenue from sales taxes.

Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, has said that he backs a broad rewrite of the tax system.

However, the plans are controversial. Advocates from liberal leaning groups say cutting income tax rates will do little to spark the economy while raising sales taxes will hurt low-income individuals. Even among backers of the general income-tax cutting framework, there is a great deal of difference over the details. 

Companies that stand to lose tax breaks they now enjoy could become some of the most vocal opponents of the measure. Similar "special interest" objections have helped kill tax reform measures in the past. 

"If you do the right thing, we're going to have your back," said AFP national president Tim Phillips.

The offer essentially is a pledge to offset negative attention lawmakers backing tax reform might get from groups that lose exemptions or end up collecting sales taxes when they have never had to do so before. Such campaigns cannot only make lawmakers uncomfortable while in office but can lead to problems on the campaign trail.

AFP's offer may have particular salience. The group was a player in the 2010 and 2012 elections that brought Republican majorities to power and helped keep them there. As well, one of the group's long-time patrons and board members, Art Pope, resigned his role with the nonprofit to become McCrory's budget director. 

Woodhouse said that, in addition to praising lawmakers, AFP would take out ads in national trade magazines boasting of North Carolina's new, lower tax rates.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest turned out for AFP's news conference Tuesday, applauding the work that was already underway in the Senate. Woodhouse gave Forest a green "Back in the Game" football jersey that the group had made as a prop for the event.

14 Comments

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  • junkmail5 Apr 17, 7:54 p.m.

    In NC individuals who make less than 12,750 pay no state income taxes... in other words, people in minimum wage jobs, which is mostly young people. If they make a single dollar more they start paying 6%. The sales tax will hardly be a huge burden on them. -ripcord

    UTTER nonsense.

    People who make that little _spend_ virtually every penny.

    So 100% of their income will now be subject to a higher sales tax.

    Sales taxes replacing income taxes _always_ hurt the poor FAR more than the well off.

    That's basic, simple, economics.

  • goldenosprey Apr 17, 12:35 p.m.

    "Left wing has simplistic answers to complex problems, most people don't get your their (sic)car fix every month" Bob3425

    Poor people tend to get their cars repaired more often than the rich, who have new cars. They won't have more buying power if what they pay for is taxed more.

    Middle class, working class and poor people will end up paying a greater portion of their income in taxes. Rich people - less. Just the way the Koch heads and Popes and their toadies in the republican party designed it.

    At least our race to the bottom is going well.

  • Bob3425 Apr 17, 5:22 a.m.

    Left wing has simplistic answers to complex problems, most people don't get your their car fix every month, lower income will take home more giving them more buying power, with a sales tax everyone pays for example illegal and other that are being pay under the table.

  • jgilchr Apr 16, 9:06 p.m.

    In other words people in Kansas are helping shape NC policy.

  • miseem Apr 16, 7:42 p.m.

    teleman60... Does the name George Soros mean anything to you?
    Ripcord

    What does the name mean to you?

  • miseem Apr 16, 7:30 p.m.

    in other words, people in minimum wage jobs, which is mostly young people. If they make a single dollar more they start paying 6%. The sales tax will hardly be a huge burden on them. Furthermore, 'poor people' spend less money per individual so they'll still pay less than more affluent people.

    Rip, that's the problem. The right wing has simplistic ansers to complex problems. When that guy on minimum wage needs to get his car repaired and it costs and extra 40 bucks, it might be a burden. And obviously, someone making 25K a year spends less than someone making 250K. But by targeting sales tax, the lower income person pays a much higher percentage of their income on tax if sales taxes are based on merchandise and services. Pretty much the opposite of what a "fair" tax system calls for. The lower income person has very little disposable income. Higher income does. And a lot of that will essentially be tax free if sales taxes become the standard in NC.

  • Ripcord Apr 16, 7:29 p.m.

    teleman60... Does the name George Soros mean anything to you?

  • teleman60 Apr 16, 7:11 p.m.

    The despicable and hypocritical AFP needs to take all their KOCH Bros millions and get ready to cover the state as it slips into bankruptcy when they yet again shoot themselves in both feet in their race to demonstrate they are without doubt juvenile delinquents who flunked their IQ test and yet got so many to vote for their disastrously dangerous GOP great adventure.

  • Ripcord Apr 16, 7:10 p.m.

    "I mean, I'd personally benefit a lot from that. But even I know doing so would make me a horrible person. Apparently you're ok with that." - junkmail5

    Lots of states already do that. And supporting the idea doesn't make anyone a "horrible person". It greatly simplifies the state tax system for the state and individuals. In NC individuals who make less than 12,750 pay no state income taxes... in other words, people in minimum wage jobs, which is mostly young people. If they make a single dollar more they start paying 6%. The sales tax will hardly be a huge burden on them. Furthermore, 'poor people' spend less money per individual so they'll still pay less than more affluent people.

  • junkmail5 Apr 16, 5:51 p.m.

    They should go further: Get rid of the state income tax entirely and get funding purely from sales taxes.
    Ripcord

    so you want them to shift even MORE of the burden on those who can least afford it, while further reducing the burden on those living in mansions?

    I mean, I'd personally benefit a lot from that. But even I know doing so would make me a horrible person. Apparently you're ok with that.

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