Norquist offers endorsement of tax reform efforts

Posted May 16, 2013

— One of the fiercest and best known anti-tax campaigners in the country has lent his support to the state Senate's tax reform efforts.

Grover Norquist, the head of Americans Tax Reform and a veteran of tax reform efforts going back 30 years, spoke at a news conference Thursday morning saying that North Carolina would do well to follow the tax reform measure outlined by Senate leaders. 

"What's being put forth in North Carolina is in keeping with movement in other states, but it's one of the more dramatic, forward-looking, well-thought-through proposals," Norquist said. 

Broadly speaking, the Senate plan would lower income and sales tax rates while applying sales taxes to items and services that currently aren't taxed. However, the Senate has not put out a bill or the accompanying legislative analysis that would allow for a full examination of the plan.

Meanwhile, Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, confirms an Associated Press story saying he will roll out the House version of a tax reform package later Thursday. That plan would move more cautiously, particularly with regard to sales taxes.

Although Norquist said he was appearing on behalf of the Senate plan, both measures moved in the right direction.

"I'm all in favor of compromising in the direction of liberty," Norquist said when asked if he would weigh in on one plan versus the other. "There are no bad guys in this rodeo."

The Senate plan is roughly "revenue neutral," meaning it will raise the same amount of money, or a bit less, than the current tax system overall.

However, some tax taxpayers will pay more in sales taxes than they save in lower income tax rates. 

Norquist, who is famous for eliciting "anti-tax pledges" from lawmakers, said it was acceptable for some individuals to pay more in taxes as along as overall tax collections go down. 

"As I look at it, (the Senate tax plan) sufficiently reduces taxes so that ought not to happen," Norquist said.

Pushed specifically on claims that the plan could increase the tax burden on some low- and middle-income families, Norquist said people should look at the overall effects of the plan. North Carolina's economy, he said, would grow and raise people's income.

"The most regressive part of the North Carolina income tax is your high unemployment rate compared with states with lower tax burdens," he said.

It is worth pointing out that liberal economists disagree with the conclusion that the economy will grow under lower tax rates.


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  • driverkid3 May 18, 2013

    I have a question for all of you that complain about "the rich." What do you consider as a "rich" person? How much must a "rich" person have? Lastly, why on earth do you all hate the "rich" so much? Is it envy, jealousy, WHAT?

    Somehow, I don't think anyone will have the guts to answer this.

  • thomashaustin May 17, 2013

    Let me see if I can get this into everyone’s head. Corporations do NOT pay taxes. They may hand over some money, but they include this in the cost to customer. So the more you tax a company the higher the cost of their product. That means the customer pays the taxes for the company. As for the sales tax, if I buy a car for $20,000 I pay taxes on the $20,000. If a rich person buys a $50,000 car he pays the taxes on the $50,000. Drug dealers and other criminals in the shadows do not pay income taxes. They will have to pay sales taxes if they spend their “ill-gotten gains”.

  • sisu May 17, 2013

    Never accept a promise from the government for something in the future when they offe a benefit now. The future promise is always a lie. My financial advisors have been trying to get me to open a Roth for years and I have just laughed in their face. Will have to rub it in when I get to his office this year.
    May 17, 2013 2:46 p.m

    Cute. But the "government" that would be breaking their promise would be the Republicans.

    I voted Republican in '00, '02, '04' and '06 but these are not Republicans I can stand with. Too far right and too much for the ultra-rich.

  • slatesplace May 17, 2013


    Never accept a promise from the government for something in the future when they offe a benefit now. The future promise is always a lie. My financial advisors have been trying to get me to open a Roth for years and I have just laughed in their face. Will have to rub it in when I get to his office this year.

  • sisu May 16, 2013

    Okay, here's another thing that REALLY ticks me off about this. I have been careful with my money and have been putting money into a Roth 401k for YEARS. I already paid taxes on it. The benefit was supposed to be that I would be able to receive my monthly pay-outs TAX FREE since I paid into it with after tax money.

    Now, if they change this, I will have to pay increased sales tax on all of it. Totally defeats the purpose of having gone with a Roth instead of a traditional 401K.

    I am really ticked.

  • jackjones2nc May 16, 2013

    Broadening sales taxes while reducing income taxes is a regressive system. Regressive tax systems disproportionately harm those with lower income. Funding the rich at the expense of the poor is immoral.

  • Save It May 16, 2013

    Here's an question I would like Grover's opinion on: If a household can't pay their bills due to reduced income or no income is the most honorable course of action to A.) quit eating or feeding their kids B.) Quit paying bills selectively C.) stop sending their sick kids to the doctor or D.) Attempt to find another job or a second job to increase household revenue?

    Any decent person would answer D.) work to increase revenue to pay their commitments and ever increasing expenses. But that's decent, moral people. Not those who think the only answer to debt and inevitable expenses is "stop spending". The same holds true for government expenses. Just like in most households the cost of living is not going down with regards to infrastructure repair, required upgrades, municipal and government employees (unless your just another a civil servant hater).

    The difference is one group wants to do what is responsible (pay to play) and Grover wants a free ride.

  • Save It May 16, 2013

    "tax people on what they spend... not on what they earn!" And what do we do with people who inherit? Money is not "earned" simply because I had a rich ancestor".

    The GOP minions argue that taxing inheritance is double taxation because they are not smart enough to grasp the concept of income. Doesn't matter if it comes from a paycheck, a grandparent or a sack of money found in a dumpster, it's all INCOME to the new recipient. I'm not even sure that's dumbed down enough.

  • Save It May 16, 2013

    The Norquist Pledge: Reduce taxes on corporate masters and increase taxes on the middle class and working poor. How very honorable of his mindless cohorts.

  • Save It May 16, 2013

    Grover. It's okay, go ahead and laugh at the joke.