Local News

State House Set To Vote On Tax Package Plan

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com

RALEIGH — Debate is set to begin on the House Democrats' plan to break the budget stalemate -- a sales tax increase of one penny and slightly higher income taxes on the wealthy would bring in $1 billion in revenue for the next two years.

Republicans are expected to vote against the plan while Democrats, who only hold a four-vote majority, are not sure how many will vote for it. The key could come down to a small group of Democrats who are still asking questions.

"The title of the bill has been drawn so tightly that no amendments can be made in it, and quite frankly, there are a lot of changes that should be made in it," Rep. Bob Hensley (D-Wake) said. "I would like to see it sent back to another committee, probably appropriations, to allow the rest of the General Assembly to discuss this and add amendments if they so choose."

Both House Speaker Jim Black and Gov. Mike Easley are hitting hard on the theme that this tax package is for children.

"This is not a time to be partisan, our children are not partisan," Black said. "Education is not partisan."

"At this point, I cannot begin to guess what will happen," Easley said. "I know it's going to be close. But at the end of the day, I hope the legislators will put people like these babies and these protective mothers and schoolchildren of North Carolina first and politics second."

Gov. Easley's proposals are included in the tax package that, if passed, could break the budget logjam that sets the record for the longest session ever in North Carolina history.