Senate approves putting permanent tax, spending limits before voters

Posted August 12, 2015

— 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.

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  • Tom Boswell Aug 13, 2015
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    Doubt will pass but a great idea. We all know as soon as Democrats get back in power they will increase taxes and spending just like Wake County. With Democrats in control before McCrory, we had a 2.5 billion dollar deficit. At the time it was the countries fifth largest. Our overall tax burden rated us the 7th highest in the country according to the Tax Foundations web site. Fast forward to Republicans in control and our tax burden has fallen to 34th highest and we have a 445 million dollar surplus.