Ads target House tax reform plan

Posted June 3, 2013 5:21 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2013 3:45 p.m. EDT

— As the House Finance Committee prepares to debate the House tax reform plan Tuesday morning, ads and mailers targeting the plan are going out in 10 districts – paid for by the left-leaning think tank NC Justice Center.

Two Triangle-area lawmakers are on the list: House Bill 998 sponsor Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake.

The eight other lawmakers are House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rules Chairman Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Finance chairs Julia Howard, R-Davie, and Mitch Setzer, R-Catawba, as well as Reps. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, Nathan Ramsey, R-Buncombe, and Susan Martin, R-Wilson. 

The mailed fliers say "TAXPAYER ALERT FOR _____"

"Act now before your taxes go up!" it says. "H998 will give the wealthy a tax break, while you pay more!" 

"Stop H998 by calling [lawmaker's name] at [lawmaker's office number]." says the mailer.

"We wanted to reach influential lawmakers, like Speaker Tillis, and lawmakers we felt might be receptive to the message," said NC Justice Center spokesman Jeff Shaw.  

Shaw says the campaign is costing about $10,000 but could be expanded if it's effective. The center is a nonpartisan nonprofit, but because this is an issue ad, Shaw says, it's allowed under IRS rules.

"None of these plans are actual tax reform. They all represent a tax shift, which would ask 80 percent of North Carolinians to pay more in taxes and the richest among us to pay less," said Shaw. "That's bad economic policy and bad for the vast majority of North Carolina's families."

Lewis said that claim is untrue. He said an shows that most taxpayers in most brackets, low and high, will come out ahead. But the details of the formula used to calculate the overall sales tax burden aren't included on the chart. 

The measure is on the calendar in House Finance Tuesday morning at 8:30am.