Exposing the Hypocrisy of the Left’s Budget Surplus Spin
The news that North Carolina’s state General Fund budget revenue is now predicted to come in $400 million above original estimates caused the Left to go into full spin mode. For months, liberal progressives were fretting about the end of Western Civilization as we know it due to earlier projections that revenue this year would come in below the amount used to set the budget.
Somehow blind to the irony, first they were upset that revenue may be too low this year, now they are upset that revenue may be too high. We are used to the narrative coming from the Left that government never has enough money, but now that revenues are higher than expectations liberals suddenly find compassion for taxpayers.
Dan Blue, the Senate minority leader from Raleigh, dutifully read the new script to the media, proclaiming that the higher-than-expected tax revenues came “directly out of the pockets of middle-class families.”
Blue added: “Small businesses and middle-class families across North Carolina got absolutely slammed, absolutely slammed on Tax Day, paying more than they have paid ever before.”
Blue’s history as a state legislature dates back to the beginning of the 1980s, and rarely over that time period, when he and his fellow Democrats held the reins of power, did they meet a tax they didn’t like.
Indeed, Blue and the Democrats have a long history of passing taxes hikes that “absolutely slammed” the middle-class and low-income households.
Following is a sampling dating back three decades, spanning Blue’s long tenure in the General Assembly, of tax increases approved by Democrat-controlled legislatures that imposed a heavier tax burden – especially on lower- and middle-class households.
In that vein, the Civitas Institute presents: “Ten Tax Hikes That Slammed Middle Class Families – Courtesy of NC Democrats”*
- The legislative authorization in 1986 of a half-cent increase in the local sales tax, an increase of about $200 million in the levy statewide.
- A 1-cent increase – from 3% to 4% – in the statewide sales tax rate in 1991.
- An increase of the state sales tax from 4% to 4.5%, initially to be “temporary” and last from 2001 to 2003. This was estimated to cost NC taxpayers more than $1.5 billion over two years at the time.
- Extension of the “temporary” sales tax rate of 4.5% another 2 years in 2003.
- An extension in 2005 of the “temporary” sales tax rate yet another 2 years. By 2007, the two sales tax extensions cost taxpayers an additional $1.72 billion.
- Making permanent, in 2007, a quarter-cent of the “temporary” sales tax – at a cost of more than a quarter billion dollars per year.
- An increase in the statewide sales tax by 1 cent to 5.75% from 2009 to 2011, costing households an additional $1.6 billion over two years.
- The creation in 2009 thru 2011 of a 3% “surcharge” on the income tax paid by middle-class households (single filers earning above $60K, and married filing jointly earning above $100K). This cost taxpayers roughly $350 million over two years.
- An increase in the gas tax by 2 cents per gallon in 1986, which cost motorists about $100 million per year at the time.
- An increase in the gas tax of ½ cent per gallon in 1991, with a quarter-cent to expire in 1995 and the rest to sunset in 1999.
*(dollar amount estimates provided are taken from the time the taxes were enacted and not adjusted for inflation to current dollars)
The above list doesn’t include all the taxes Democrats passed while they were in power, or Democrats’ failed attempt in 2011 to extend the “temporary” 2009 sales tax hike.
Finally, what’s even more rich is Blue’s faux outrage over the expiration of the tax deduction for small businesses, given the fact that Blue voted against the 2011 state budget that included the tax deduction.