Politics & Government

Democrats and allies hit GOP tax policies

Brian McManus 74, of Matthews is worried that he will not be able to deduct long term health care costs, while speaking at the "Tax Hike Truth Tour" during a press conference held at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center April 08, 2015.
Brian McManus 74, of Matthews is worried that he will not be able to deduct long term health care costs, while speaking at the "Tax Hike Truth Tour" during a press conference held at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center April 08, 2015. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Democrats and their allies continued Wednesday to attack Republican tax policies, saying they’re resulting in tax hikes for thousands of North Carolinians.

“Taxes for North Carolinians went up and they didn’t even know it,” said Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte.

Jackson made his comments at a Charlotte news conference organized by Progress North Carolina, a liberal advocacy group.

It was part of the group’s “Tax Hike Truth Tour” scheduled to cross the state and end with a rally at the General Assembly on April 15 – tax day.

Their theme was echoed in Raleigh on Tuesday by Democratic state Chair Patsy Keever and Democratic legislators. They said the loss of the earned income tax credit and other credits that helped low-income and middle-class taxpayers were casualties of Republican tax changes.

The 2013 changes lowered the overall tax rate on businesses and individuals while eliminating a number of exemptions and tax breaks. Republicans argue that the changes help the economy by making the state more competitive with neighboring states.

The Budget & Tax Center, a progressive group, says taxpayers earning less than $84,000 will, on average, see their taxes rise. But legislative analysts have estimated that 30 percent of individual taxpayers would see an increase while 57 percent would see a decrease. The rest would see no change.

Brian McManus, 74, of Matthews, said at the news conference that because he could no longer deduct medical expenses, his state taxes doubled, going to $3,600 from $1,800.

Republican Party spokesman Ricky Diaz, who shadowed the news conference at the Government Center in Charlotte, said his party passed the largest tax cut in state history.

“They’re just recycling the same old talking points and hoping for a different outcome,” he said of the Democrats.

(Note: Story updated April 10 to correct Brian McManus’ tax increase.)

Morrill: 704-358-5059

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