Local News

N.C. consumers get pinched from higher taxes Tuesday

Posted August 31, 2009

— North Carolina consumers are going to feel another pinch at the mall, the ABC store and most everywhere in between.

The state's sales tax goes up a full penny Tuesday, bringing the total rate charged in most counties to 7.75 percent. At the same time, cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor will have higher excise taxes.

The increases are part of $1 billion in new revenues the Democratic-led Legislature and Gov. Beverly Perdue agreed upon to balance the state budget.

Democrats say they aren't happy with higher taxes but said it was better than laying off more workers. Republicans and anti-tax groups say unemployed voters struggling to scrape by will feel the pain acutely.

"It is likely hitting those people who simply did not take care of a minor ticket because of financial distress to begin with,” attorney William Young said.

The cost of a traffic ticket will increase by $9 and a seat belt violation by $26. The fee for failing to appear in court will double from $100 to $200.

"They told me that if I came in tomorrow (Tuesday) it would be $100 at least on top of the court fees, so I managed to make it in on time,” recent college graduate Thomas Godwin said.

Godwin still paid $245 on Monday for a ticket and failure to appear in traffic court fee. However, the costs would have been greater on Tuesday.

“As a recent graduate, it was kind of hard to put the money together just to pay this, so I wouldn't have been able to do it tomorrow,” Godwin said.

Wake County Clerk of Court Lorrin Freeman said the extra costs may help encourage more people to show up for court.

"In Wake County, we see as many as 12 percent of people who just fail to appear on their court date,” Freeman said.

If you can't pay a ticket by the due date, the state is offering a payment plan for a $20 fee.

"We all believe in fair and open court, it is something that we all have to shoulder together," Freeman said of the extra costs.

The higher sales and income taxes are considered "temporary." The extra cent charged on every $1 in purchases expires July 1, 2011, while the income tax surcharge expires at the close of 2010.

Perdue and other Democrats hope those taxes won't be needed then if the economy turns around. But that will be a tall order, as tax analysts project revenues aren't likely to return to pre-recession levels until 2014.

The excise taxes, however, are permanent.

Cigarette taxes will increase by 10 cents per pack to 45 cents, an incremental sign of tobacco's diminishing political power in North Carolina. Just five years ago, the tax was 5 cents per pack.

But pro-tobacco forces still managed to keep the North Carolina rate among the lowest in the country. Legislators wouldn't raise the tax by the extra $1 per pack that Perdue and health advocates sought as a way to discourage teen smoking while generating more revenues.

The beer and wine tax rates essentially haven't increased in at least 30 years. Alcohol buyers may take a second look when they read sales receipts come Tuesday because they'll also have to pay the higher sales tax on their purchases, too.


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  • ICTrue Sep 1, 2009

    Anyone who believes Purdue that any new tax is temporary, I have some swamp land that you are just going to love.

    From the article..."Democrats say they aren't happy with higher taxes"....funny

  • pilgrimmik Sep 1, 2009

    So now we have a higher sales tax which means less people will spend in the state and not more. Don't they realize when you make things more costly it doesn't sell. We also have a surcharge for any one making over $60k a year. That must be the share the wealth the Dems were talking about last year. Oh but wait a minute, after the companies hit hardest by the latest taxes in this state leave, more will be unemployed, so we will have less people getting the chance to fulfill their American Dream because you can't buy much on unemployment. We should change the name of our state to New California if we keep letting our reps play with our money like they have been.

  • Sep 1, 2009

    We as a Country are screwed, as a State are screwed and who do we have to blame for this mess ? Our politicians who allow our country to rot while manufacturing is sent to Mexico and other non-deserving nations just to exploit cheap labor, IT outsourced to India and the result is HORRIBLE support and infiltration into every computer by hackers and identity thieves. Politicians are using our Tax money to fund their pompish lifestyles their families have enjoyed since the end of the civilwar and placing family and friends into highly paid positions to keep their circle unbroken. I feel something really bad brewing for America, depression, revolution, race war. Its coming and all the money has pulled out of America and we have no chance to survive this unless we clean house in goverment.

  • MakoII Sep 1, 2009

    In 2001 46 % of bankruptcies were due to medical costs

    By 2007, 62 % of bankruptcies are due to medical costs.

    92% of those bankruptcies are debts over $5000.

    75% of the bankruptcies HAD health insurance plans in effect.


    Killing Health Care Reform, doing nothing, WILL lead to higher taxes. It already has.

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    How far can they continue to raise our NC taxes? A person still have to live even though many don't have jobs because of lay-offs. I bet Purdue did not think of that or us. :)

  • Professor Sep 1, 2009

    They will blow this money too, and not know where it went. We certainly need a new governor and Purdue needs to really go now. What next for the people of NC?

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Sep 1, 2009

    WOW! This should really help the economy!(very sarcasticly)

  • Garnerwolf1 Sep 1, 2009

    Must be amazing to know so much and understand so little. Let's see if I can make my point where even you can follow it. (I know it gets tough when it gets past your standard 'pot calling the kettle black argument). For the last several decades (say 8 or 9),on average, Federal spending has exceeded its revenues. I'm not trying to attach blame here, that seems to be your one and only forte. What I AM trying to communicate is that if this trend continues, at some point, the party is going to end, the bill is going to come due, and whoever is around at that time is going to be left holding the bag. Now, as far as I'm concerned, our little 'conversation' is over. If blaming 'neo-cons' for all of society's ills allows you to sleep at night, more power to you.

  • MakoII Sep 1, 2009


    I'm starting to think you missed your own point.

    You said you didn't believe the tax trend. I proved the tax trend with multiple sources.

    Then you said you'd accept the trend for arguments sake and pointed to lower revenues and what would the outcome be in the future.

    I pointed out past dogma concerning that issue exactly. And I'm pretty sure without even knowing you, that you accepted that dogma.

    Answer me these?

    Were you one defending spending because it would trickle down and create growth that would increase revenues?

    Were you one who defended spending to fight the war on terrorism?

    If so, then you WERE advocating the neo-conservative economic excuse I laid out.

    BOTH my posts were key answers to your initial statement AND your point.

    I suggest you go back ,reread your post, then read my posts addressed to you.

    If you had another point, perhaps it escaped both me and your writing.

    BTW, what DO you call yourself politically if my tag is incorrect?

  • makomookie Sep 1, 2009

    C'mon guys and gals..... you know that my position is correct. Always has been... always will be.