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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:54

Sen. Davis and reverse Robin Hood tactics

Written by 

To the Editor:

The N.C. Republican Party sent out a flyer stating Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, voted for a middle-class tax cut exempting the first $17,500 of income from taxes. What he voted for was an increase in the exemption from $15,500 to the $17,500 exemption currently in place, resulting in a couple who makes $44,000 saving $115 per year.

He also voted to require new sales taxes to be paid on service contracts for appliances and cars, oil changes, flooring and appliance installation, kitchen remodeling, and admission charges to movies and sporting events. He eliminated the earned income tax credit for the working poor, eliminated medical expense deductions (which has a serious impact on seniors), and deductions for retirement income, child care expenses, and college savings 529 plans. He also increased “fees” (another name for a tax) for the Division of Motor Vehicles by 30 percent, resulting in much higher costs for driver’s licenses and registration fees.  

According to the N.C. Justice Center’ Budget and Tax Center, taxpayers making under $67,000 will, on average, see their taxes increase under the tax changes Davis voted for. These changes will result in an additional $640 million in revenue from increased sales tax and an additional $153 million from DMV fees. The vast majority of these tax and fee increases will come from low- and middle-income citizens.

Meanwhile what has Davis done for his ultra-rich friends like Art Pope who spent $1 million to help get Davis elected?  Davis voted to drop the income tax rate for the top 1 percent (income over $376,000) from 7.75 to 5.75 percent. This change in income tax rates will reduce income to the state by $2.1 billion this year, according to the N.C. Budget and Tax Center. The vast majority of this huge tax cut goes to the multi-millionaire top 1 percent. 

So how does this reflect on the share of all state and local taxes paid as a percentage of family income? Those making less than $80,000 per year will pay 9.1 percent of their income to the state in taxes while those making over $376,000 per year will pay only 5.3 percent of their income per year in taxes (Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy).

In summary, Davis has raised sales taxes and fees resulting in poor and middle class families paying higher total taxes while at the same time given massive tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens who can most easily afford to pay higher taxes. This is a classic example of a reverse Robin Hood effect: taking from the poor and giving to the wealthy. Western North Carolina deserves someone who represents all our citizens, not just his millionaire buddies.

Ed Morris MD, PhD


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