RALEIGH – If you made this stuff up, people wouldn’t believe you – it just seems too satirical. Alas, it is true. Gov. Roy Cooper is asking business leaders to use their political capital to stop scheduled tax reductions.
“Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wants North Carolina business leaders to speak up for public education funding by telling the Republican-controlled legislature to block additional income tax cuts set to take effect next year.
Cooper gave the challenge Monday at the annual Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. The conference is focusing on how to expand early childhood education and health care and their connection to a well-trained future workforce.
Cooper says individual and corporate tax rates have been previously reduced, and further cuts could create future budget shortfalls. He says the business community needs to use its “political capital” to ensure there’s enough revenue for pre-kindergarten programs, teacher pay raises and community college and university system improvements.”
This is real. This is Roy Cooper asking those with political influence to fight against a scheduled income tax reduction that will allow you to keep more money in your pocket. Cooper wants you to have less money, so that the government has more.
One of the reasons Cooper gives is the threat of budget shortfalls. It is amazing the Democrats still use this threat to attack Republican tax plans considering that the last several times they have rung the bell about shortfalls…the State ended up with revenue surpluses.
N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger tweeted in reaction to Cooper’s political plea that no tax raises are happening on Republicans’ watch:
Civics and Common Sense 101: You can’t scrap a tax cut already scheduled in the law and then say it’s not a massive tax hike. #nothappeningonourwatch #NCPOL #NCGAhttps://t.co/E26ADDwOql pic.twitter.com/YMW6d2jVZW
— Senator Phil Berger (@SenatorBerger) February 5, 2018
That’s exactly how Cooper will try to spin such a proposal – it’s not a tax hike because the planne dreduction hasn’t happened yet. But this isn’t some proposed legislation, it’s already the law.
For whatever reason, the Republicans couldn’t stomach enacting the full tax cuts all at once when the legislation passed in 2016. Instead, they voted to phase it in with the net reduction scheduled for 2019.
Admittedly, that reason was most definitely political. If Republicans have a planned tax cut hanging out there beyond 2018 elections, they can use Democrats’ predictable arguments for shelving it against those Democrats while campaigning.
While Cooper is asking businesses to use their political capital to stop a tax cut, Republicans’ political capital is the tax cut itself.
Ideally, Republicans would out more weight on going ahead and letting us have more of our own money than triangulating political strategy, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
Hanging this around Cooper’s neck and reducing his chances of reelection, though, may bring us closer to one.