To the Editor:
The House in Raleigh recently passed a budget with deep spending cuts. According to Forbes.com, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) said “… retirements, vacancies, turnover and flexibility for local school districts … would reduce actual job losses to fewer than 7,000.” I have seen several interviews with Mr. Tillis, and I was struck by his complete lack of empathy for those people – whatever the number – who will lose their jobs.
Our education system will be the hardest hit by the cuts. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr recently warned that even though North Carolina corporate tax rates are the highest in the Southeast, we win every time when competing with neighboring states because of our education system, particularly our community and state colleges. “When an employer looks at an investment in North Carolina, they are not looking at the return next year. They are looking at the return 30 years from now.”
North Carolina just came in second for the third straight year as “Best State for Business” in a poll conducted by Chief Executive Magazine. Sen. Burr summed it up: “When we talk about the things that work. Let’s not overlook what most employers in the 21st century are looking for – that’s an educated workforce.”
Our lawmakers are jeopardizing our future by not exploring every budget option, such as extending the one-cent sales tax which amounts to about $860 million a year. Mr. Tillis insists this money will go back to North Carolinians and create jobs.
It might, but I don’t believe that businesses create jobs because they save a penny on the dollar in sales tax. They create jobs when there is a higher demand for their products or services. Higher unemployment does not create higher demand. If my family spent an average of $500 a week on taxable products, we would save only $5 a week.
I agree with the 73 percent of North Carolinians who, in a recent Elon University poll, support extending the one-cent sales tax for another year to offset budget cuts. Please contact Sens. Ralph Hise, R-Spruce Pine, and Jim Davis, R-Franklin. Urge them to explore every available budget option to keep our state moving forward.