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 N.C. Dems consider tax on wealthiest

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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

N.C. Dems consider tax on wealthiest Empty
PostSubject: N.C. Dems consider tax on wealthiest   N.C. Dems consider tax on wealthiest EmptyFri Jun 05, 2009 4:37 pm

N.C. Dems consider tax on wealthiest
By Jim Morrill
Posted: Friday, Jun. 05, 2009

State House Democrats could consider raising taxes on North Carolina's wealthiest taxpayers as they struggle with a record budget shortfall, a Charlotte lawmaker said Friday morning.

Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham made the statement in a conference call on the budget with more than 50 constituents, elected officials and others.

Cotham said Democrats, who control the House, are considering a package of income and excise tax hikes to offset a shortfall that now stands at $4.6 billion.

“We are not talking about taxing the working class,” she said. “We're looking at 3 to 5 percent of North Carolina's richest income earners.” To those making more than $250,000 a year, she said, “You're going to have to pay more – and I think you should.”

Cotham offered a bleak assessment of proposed cuts. For example, she described what she called “absolutely devastating” cuts in education spending that could amount to $1.8 billion and “set back education at least a decade.”

She outlined similar proposed cuts in health and human services, transportation and criminal justice. Describing the proposed cuts, she frequently used words such as “horrific,” “dangerous,” and “unconscionable.”

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey, who listened in, called the briefing “pretty sobering.”

Cotham said the budget could reach the House floor next week. The Senate has already passed its version. The two chambers eventually will come together to adopt a single spending plan.

Unlike the federal government, the state has to balance its budget. Cotham said she realizes any tax hikes won't close the entire shortfall.

“Its not going to get to $4.6 billion,” she said, “but if we can raise some revenue to help with some of the problems, with education and health and human services – particularly Medicaid – then that's what we're looking at.”

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059
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