By Linda Daves
Chairman, North Carolina Republican Party
In yesterday's Carrboro Citizen, Chris Fitzsimon attempted to take me to task for my assertion that North Carolina pays higher taxes than any other state in the Southeast.
"State Republican Chair Linda Daves says often that 'Democrats have given us the highest taxes in the Southeast' and it is generally unchallenged. …" ("The shaky Tax Foundation," Carrboro Citizen, August 21, 2008)
Mr. Fitzsimon criticizes the use of one set of data to determine North Carolina's state and local tax burden. Apparently, he did not take all of the data into account. If Governor Easley and the Democrat General Assembly want to take credit for something, it seems to me that it ought to be the state tax burden which they have direct control over through the budgeting process. We know they haven't listened to a Republican suggestion on the matter in years.
So what is the state tax burden for North Carolina and how does it compare to our neighboring states?
The truth is North Carolinians are paying more in taxes than any of our neighboring states. That's right. In 2007, no state bordering North Carolina had a higher state tax burden. We actually have the 10th highest state tax burden in the country. (U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Total State Taxes: 2007") Sorry Gov. Easley and Democrats in Raleigh. Your curtain call will not be necessary. No victory laps or pats on the back will be needed or appropriate.
This is not to mention other facts about taxes in North Carolina.
"Compared to its neighbors in the Southeast, North Carolina currently has the highest corporate tax rate (6.9 percent), the highest marginal income tax rate (7.75 percent), the second-highest motor fuels tax (30.15 cents per gallon), and the second highest sales tax (6.75 percent)." ("2/3rds of NC Voters Say Taxes are Too High," Civitas Institute, April 15, 2008)
Mr. Fitzsimon also misses the point of this argument. The question is: Does North Carolina have a favorable climate for drawing new businesses, preserving current businesses, and creating new jobs? Under the state's Democrat leadership, unemployment is at its highest rate since 2003 in North Carolina and up in 97 of 100 counties across the state. ("Unemployment up across N.C.," WRAL.com, August 22, 2008) With a higher state tax burden than any of its neighbors, if you owned a new business looking to locate to the Southeast, would you come to North Carolina?
Clearly, we need a new strategy when it comes to job creation in North Carolina. Without lower taxes, we will always put ourselves at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with our neighbors for new business. We cannot allow the promise of North Carolina to go unfulfilled and waste the opportunity to make this state the best place to do business, to live, and to raise a family. However, without a change in leadership, we can expect only more of the same.