Target: North Carolina State House of Representative Speaker Thom Tillis (R)
Goal: Condemn proposed regressive flat income and increased sales taxes in North Carolina
North Carolina’s Republican dominated state legislature recently unveiled new tax proposals, including a flat income tax for all income levels and increased sales taxes. As ThinkProgress aptly notes, such proposals “[hit] low-income families hardest, and comes on top of the March repeal of a tax credit for 900,000 working families in the state.” The existing tax rate is already regressive, as “the richest one percent… pay 6.5 percent of their income in combined sales and income taxes at the state level, while the lower 80 percent of earners pay between 9 and 10 percent combined.”
Although consistent with the common conservative brand of supply-side economics, this plan is as fiscally irresponsible as it is socioeconomically retrograde. The North Carolina Justice Center (NCJC) estimates that these new proposals may result in as much as $573 million in lost revenue annually. Thus, the proposal “is likely to force [additional] major cuts to public services if approved,” ThinkProgress concludes. Notably, recent NCJC research suggests that North Carolina’s income inequality is rapidly expanding, outpacing national trends: as of 2011, the top quintile of North Carolinians held an estimated 51% of the state’s aggregate income, while the bottom quintile held just 3%.
Enacting these proposed tax plans would certainly place additional financial burdens on North Carolina’s most vulnerable residents through increased taxes and decreased services. Condemn this regressive and counterproductive plan, and demand that North Carolina’s state legislators protect their most vulnerable citizens.
Dear Speaker Tillis,
While the nation continues its sluggish economic recovery, state governments seek new ways of securing balanced finances, reductions to wasteful spending, and means of securing the economic interests of all families. Revisions to existing state income and sales tax codes are one means of achieving these and other goals.
The recently released details of both a flat income and an altered state sales tax proposals, however, are an ignominious step backward for North Carolinians. The flat income tax shifts additional financial pressures onto your state’s poorest residents, while vastly reducing revenues for essential social programs by as much as $500 million per year. As North Carolina’s exploding income equality and existing regressive tax structure indicates, this proposal is utterly indefensible on fiscal, economic, and moral grounds.
As the leader of North Carolina’s House of Representatives, and a prospective leader of the state Senate, it is incumbent upon you to protect and empower all of North Carolina’s citizens, including lower and lower-middle class families already struggling. We, the undersigned, condemn this tax plan and demand a fairer, more equitable tax structure that protects the most vulnerable Americans.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Frank Jania, via Flickr