RALEIGH – North Carolina has been a great model of conservative reforms over the last seven to eight years, even if purists would like to see more done. That, plus a national focus on the Old North State due to its swing state status over the last couple of presidential cycles, lends the state to more attention – even in State House races.
The tax cuts enacted in North Carolina have been championed as a great success, and for good reason, but moving away from some of the highest income tax rates in the Southeast has entailed widening the tax base in other ways, most notably via expanding sales taxes.
That is the subject of campaign mailers on one Republican House primary, and it’s caught the attention of writers at Forbes.
“Such attacks are on display right now in North Carolina, where the Republican and Democratic primary elections will be held on May 6. In the Tar Heel State’s 59th state House district, former state senator Mark McDaniel is challenging the Republican House Deputy Whip, Representative Jon Hardister (Greensboro-R), to be the GOP nominee this November.
In mailers and social media posts, McDaniel is attempting paint Hardister as a tax hiker. Yet oddly enough, the vote McDaniel is attacking Hardister for was actually a vote in favor of a multi-billion dollar tax cut, one that significantly reduced and flattened North Carolina’s personal and corporate income tax rates.
McDaniel criticizes Rep. Hardister for voting in favor of the 2013 tax reform act, a landmark tax code overhaul that has provided North Carolinians with more than $4 billion in tax relief over the last half decade and will allow them to keep more of their hard-earned income moving forward. That 2013 reform, which McDaniel is attacking Hardister for voting in favor of, has been looked to as a model for what conservative, pro-growth, rate-reducing tax reform will look like in states across the country, as well as in Congress.
How is McDaniel’s campaign portraying Hardister’s vote for a large tax cut as really being a tax hike? It does so by focusing on one provision in the overall tax reform package (which, again, resulted in a sizable net tax cut). The provision upon which McDaniel has zeroed in for attack is the sales tax base broadening component of the 2013 tax reform act that extended the state sales tax to some previously-exempt services. This is what McDaniel is referring to when he states on Facebook that he wants to “repeal the sales service tax.””
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Political campaigns have a knack for singling out votes and statements that, without context, appear to be something different than what they are.
To that point, we’ll take a deeper look at McDaniel in the coming days to provide the full context of his candidacy.
He couild be a good candidate, but this attack is off the mark. The only way to move North Carolina away from incomes taxes entirely is to expand the sales tax base and constrains spending.
Read more at Forbes here.