To the Editor:
I hate paying taxes. So when someone promises to lower my taxes, they have my attention. Most people feel the same way. In 2010, every Republican running for office in N.C. promised to lower my tax bill. They all got elected. And sure enough they lowered taxes. The problem is they did not lower my taxes. You see, I don't make more than $84,000 a year. I make less, so my taxes went up, just like eight out 10 N.C. citizens.
How could a lower tax rate cause my taxes to go up? Easy, you eliminate those tax breaks for the middle class and the poor. Gone is the Earned Income Tax Credit; a program actually started by conservatives to aid poor working families. Gone are the deductions for college savings accounts. The personal exemption allowance is eliminated. Business pass-through income deductions and private pension deductions are eliminated. These and many other “adjustments” to the tax code directly result in higher taxes for most of us.
Just in case we did not get the message on who benefits from this new tax plan, the legislature increased the sales tax on many services we use every day. The sales tax is the most regressive of all taxes because it burdens the poor and middle class the most. Just how focused was the Republican legislature in helping out their rich friends? Well, two-thirds of all the tax cuts will go to the top 1 percent of N.C. taxpayers.
The tax rate for large corporations has been cut to 5 percent this year and possibly down to 3 percent in 2017. This windfall for large corporations, together with the tax breaks for the top 20 percent of all taxpayers, will result in a revenue shortfall of more than $650 million a year. That is $650 million less for teacher salaries, road and bridge repairs, investments in higher education, money for county and city governments, and in general, all those things we depend on statewide.
So how did the Republicans justify this massive shift in taxes from high-income citizens and large corporations to the middle class and the poor? The answer is trickledown economics. You have heard it before. Just give more money to the wealthy and large corporations and they will create jobs, jobs, jobs. Some actually believe this. In reality, study after study over the last 50 years shows that if you give more money to rich, they just get richer.
Jobs are created when the middle class has more money to spend. Corporations come to a state with excellent education systems, an educated work force, a well-maintained infrastructure and a politically stable society. Taxes are usually last on their list. Most experts agree that this new “reform” tax plan will actually cost us jobs in the long run.
So the next time Republicans promise to cut taxes remember they aren’t talking about you.