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N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho in standoff over taxes

By Rick Rothacker
rrothacker@charlotteobserver.com

RALEIGH State Sen. Bob Rucho remains in a standoff with his own party’s leadership over his decision last week to resign his Finance Committee co-chairmanship.

The Matthews Republican sat with the rank-and-file members at a committee meeting Wednesday instead of taking his normal position on the dais. But Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger reiterated his position that Rucho’s appointment hasn’t been withdrawn.

Rucho submitted his resignation last week in protest of a Senate tax reform plan that he says cuts rates without doing enough to change the way the state taxes services. The Senate rejected his own plan, which proposed lowering income and corporate tax rates while expanding the sales tax to cover a number of services that are currently sales-tax exempt.

“It was inappropriate for me to be part of the leadership, especially finance chair, and not being able to support Sen. Berger’s plan,” Rucho told the Observer Wednesday. “If that changes, he has the ability to say he won’t accept my resignation.”

On Wednesday, Berger sent the tax reform bill back to the Senate Finance Committee as he looks to reconcile House and Senate versions of the legislation.

“We want to move forward with tax reform,” Berger told reporters. “We think this is a pathway that could lead us there, that will lead us there.”

Asked about Rucho, Berger said he was still a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

“He is fully engaged in the process at this point,” Berger said. “Check with the clerk. He is still a co-chair of the Finance Committee.”

Rothacker: 704-358-5170
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