Senate approves putting permanent tax, spending limits before voters
Posted August 12, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Senators signed off Wednesday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the growth of government based on a calculation involving inflation and population growth.
"I don't know of anything else I can tell you that I haven't already told you," Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, told his colleagues, noting that the measure had been debated most of this week.
In additional to limiting government growth, the measure would also create a new rainy day fund that it would take a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate access. The measure would also cap the state's top income tax rate at 5 percent.
Jackson and other proponents say the measure will enforce fiscal discipline and ensure lawmakers aren't tempted to spend more than is wise.
But opponents say that it will limit the ability of the state to invest in education and other needed programs.
"Senate Bill 607 is yet another budget gimmick that will do nothing to make government more efficient, lower taxes for ordinary people or fix our schools. It is a distraction from the task at hand – finishing a budget for the coming year," said Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe.
Debate on the amendment came as negotiations over a budget that is now six weeks overdue continue to stall.
The measure next goes to the state House. If it passes the House, voters would weigh in on the measure in November 2016.