Senate's proposed tax cut? $13.9 billion over 5 years

"Epic in size," one Senate Republican leader says.

Posted Updated
State budget
Travis Fain
, WRAL statehouse reporter, & Laura Leslie, WRAL Capitol Bureau chief
RALEIGH, N.C. — The tax cuts embedded in the state budget proposal Republican Senate leaders released this week would save taxpayers $13.9 billion over the next five years.

Or, depending on one's perspective – and usually political party – it would cost state government $13.9 billion in revenue needed for schools, salaries and other operations.

Either way, the proposal includes $5.2 billion more in tax cuts over that five-year period than the Senate voted on just weeks ago in a standalone bill that had bipartisan support.
Since then, state economists have forecast a much happier revenue picture, adding about $10 billion to the state's expected bottom line over the next five years, according to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's press office.

Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, a member of the tax code-writing Senate Finance committee, readily acknowledged the proposed cut's massive size.

"Epic in size, but the philosophies are still the same," said Hise.

He and other Republicans say that the budget projections make it clear people are paying too much in taxes. They want to cut both personal income and corporate rates.

Democrats, including Gov. Roy Cooper, have criticized the plan, saying now is the time to make generational investments in the state and to raise salaries for teachers well above the 1.5 percent average Senate Republicans proposed.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, also a Senate FinancecCommittee member, called the Republican tax plan "reckless" and said it would have "traumatic implications on the state’s ability to adequately fund our schools and build roads in the years to come.”

"I don’t take issue with tax cuts when they are targeted and used as a tool to help support our economy," Blue, D-Wake, said in an emailed statement. "I do take issue with this revised Senate tax plan, which gives the bulk of relief to the very people who don’t need it."

Hise said the budget proposal makes massive investments in addition to the tax cuts, putting $4.3 billion over two years into the State Capital Infrastructure Fund. That's more, he said, than any construction bond the state has ever approved.


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