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GOP House leader: Perdue's proposed sales tax hike 'political'

Posted January 20, 2012
Updated January 21, 2012

— Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue said this week that she plans to propose a temporary .75-cent sales tax increase in her next budget to restore some of the education cuts made by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

The announcement Tuesday has drawn ire from state GOP leaders, including House Majority Leader Paul Stam who said Friday that Perdue's pitch is nothing more than politics at play.

"No. 1, it's not going to happen. No. 2, she knows it's not going to happen, and No. 3, the reason she is doing it is so she does not have to submit a realistic budget," Stam, R-Wake said.

The proposed increase would raise the sales tax in most counties from 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent. For an average family, that would be about $15 per month. It would generate an estimated $750 to $800 million in revenue over the year that the hike would be in place, according to the governor's office.

Stam said funding for education in the final budget lawmakers approved is only half a percent less than what Perdue originally proposed for 2011. He said they took necessary steps in tough budget times, while protecting teachers and classrooms.

"State government has been protected much more than the private sector," he said.

Stam worries that an increase would hurt families and take a toll on already struggling companies and lead to thousands of jobs lost in the private sector.

In a news release Friday, he said North Carolina residents would be more likely to go to Georgia or Virginia – where the sales tax rate would be lower – to purchase expensive goods. Residents from Tennessee and South Carolina – where the sales tax rate would be higher – would also be less likely to shop for expensive goods in North Carolina, he said.

"By proposing $850 (sic) million in new revenue, the budget she submits for the 2012-2013 year will not need to make any realistic choices," Stam said in the release. "She can propose all sorts of spending increases to please her political pals, knowing that it will not happen." NC sales tax battle looms between Perdue, GOP NC sales tax battle looms between Perdue, GOP

Perdue has said that she is ready to fight lawmakers and do anything necessary to undo what she calls "serious damage to the core of North Carolina's educational backbone."

Next year, when federal education funding runs out, could be worse, and she has said that she believes voters will back her proposal to avoid deeper cuts.

State School Superintendent June Atkinson said Friday that the cuts in this year's budget have forced schools across the state to eliminate more than nearly 4,000 vacant positions and to lay off more than 2,400 employees.

"One of the ways to kill public education in our state is to cut off the supply line," Atkinson said.

Political debate aside, Atkinson said there are thousands fewer educators working in North Carolina and she worries about the impact.

"Public education does need more resources," she said. "It is evident when you spend time in the classroom."

74 Comments

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  • Plenty Coups Jan 25, 2012

    "Looks like the Democrats not only love the gas tax increases but also a sales tax increase as well."

    Republicans control the General Assembly and quietly let the gas tax go up. At the same time they cut the sales tax last year and have vowed to fight any increase in it this year.

  • comitatus1 Jan 24, 2012

    I thought I'd made my point abundantly clear in my initial post. Looks like the Democrats not only love the gas tax increases but also a sales tax increase as well. All of these are regressive and all fall directly on what the Democrats/liberals all claim to be their primary constituency. I guess in the liberal mindset talk is cheap.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 24, 2012

    "That's $180, $15x12=$180. Plenty Coups illustrates my point perfectly. It's all about the institution...let the people fend for themselves."

    Not sure what your point is. The money has to come from somewhere. Yes, sales taxes are regressive but they are typically easier to implement and get passed than across the board income tax increases. Republicans never even batted an eye over gasoline tax increases a few weeks ago. This though, they're opposed to, probably because it benefits public education. In a state with overall taxes below the national average (according to Tax Foundation)and with education spending currently 49th in the nation (according to everyone), we can do better.

  • comitatus1 Jan 24, 2012

    That's $180, $15x12=$180. Plenty Coups illustrates my point perfectly. It's all about the institution...let the people fend for themselves.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 23, 2012

    "So, basically what Perdue is saying is that the institution of Education in this State is way more important than the economic well being of the children who attend public schools and the families of those children."

    Education is the key to the future. Paying $80 more over the course of a year as a .75 percent sales tax isn't going to ruin anybody's economic well being.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 23, 2012

    Crumps-"We are being taxed more already thats what this board is about!"

    Really? More than what? Taxes were cut last year but inflation went up and so have the number of students.

    "The lottery money is not going where its supposed to."

    Yes, once Perdue took 50 million out to balance the budget as required by law. Or she could have simply raised taxes as a balanced budget is NC law. But you ignore the fact that the lottery gives about 250 million per year to education even though the education budget is in the billions.

  • comitatus1 Jan 23, 2012

    So, basically what Perdue is saying is that the institution of Education in this State is way more important than the economic well being of the children who attend public schools and the families of those children.

  • comitatus1 Jan 23, 2012

    Hey! It's only FIFTEEN dollars a month more for the: Unemployed, Underemployed, Part Time Workers, Minimum Wage workers, Working poor, Retired on fixed income....hey! I thought these were the people Democrats/Liberals were for! Wow, with friends like the Democrats/Liberals, who needs enemies?

  • haggis basher Jan 23, 2012

    "We are being taxed more already thats what this board is about! The lottery money is not going where its supposed to."

    taxed more than when? And the lottery money does go to the schools but its not nearly enough so the rest is made up by the Counties, State and Feds. As revenue to the State declined due to the recession the other money from the state stayed the same or declined as Lottery money increased.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 23, 2012

    Plenty Coups
    Would you rather get taxed more to make up for the income the lottery brings in?

    We are being taxed more already thats what this board is about! The lottery money is not going where its supposed to.

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