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Trimming around edges of tax reform won’t work; be bold

From N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg:

You’ve all heard the stories.

Many of you have lived them.

Factory after factory: closed. Pink slips: doled out by the hundreds. Major companies passing on North Carolina and setting up shop just across the border.

It’s no coincidence our state has the highest taxes in the Southeast, or the 44th ranked business tax climate in the nation, while it has one of the country’s worst unemployment rates.

Forget what the liberal editorial writers and left-wing pundits are telling you. High taxes are the reason we’ve fallen behind. They’re killing jobs, slashing wages and crippling productivity.

It’s common sense – when government sucks more money out of the economy, it hurts the economy. Taking more money from working families’ paychecks, from their savings and investments, keeps those families from getting back on their feet.

Voters elected us to help those families – to keep economic hardship and struggle from defining North Carolina’s next decade the way it defined the last one. If we want a revitalized private sector and an influx of good-paying jobs, then trimming around the edges of a complex, antiquated and unfair system won’t cut it.

We all promised reform on the campaign trail. Delivering it will require bold leadership, and political courage.

Reform means significantly reducing income taxes. Our plan (nctaxcut.com) cuts those taxes, currently between 6 and 7.75 percent, to between zero and 4.5 percent over three years. And it puts us on a clear path to eliminating the income tax altogether.

It means treating everyone fairly. We can’t allow the state to tax blue-collar workers while lawyers, accountants and country clubs get off scot free. By broadening the sales tax base and cutting the rate, we’ll treat all professions equally. And relying on more revenue from sales taxes instead of income taxes will put the state on more stable and predictable fiscal ground.

Bold tax reform also means ensuring businesses have more flexibility to invest and hire workers. Our job creators have shouldered too much of the burden for too long. The Tax Fairness Act reduces the corporate tax rate from 6.9 to 6 percent and cuts franchise taxes by 10 percent.

It also eliminates the death tax and removes special-interest loopholes and deductions. It lets you keep your child tax credits and federal deductions for your mortgage. And it protects seniors – income taxes will be reduced on their retirement and pension plans, and on those who rely on Social Security for their livelihood.

It all adds up to a fair, simple tax system that provides the largest tax cut in state history. A family of four making $40,000 gets a tax cut under the Tax Fairness Act, as does the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.

And how do we pay for it? We hold the line on government spending. The state will continue to invest in vital services like public education, infrastructure and public safety. But we’ll end the culture of spending every dime government has.

Our tax code was crafted during the Great Depression, in the 1930s. That was a different state, in a different time, with a different economy.

To compete for the 21st century jobs being created in low-income-tax-states across the country, we must pass bold tax reform.

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