Tuesday, June 9th was a busy and complicated day at at the North Carolina General Assembly. In one meeting, lawmakers met to consider new taxes while on another floor of the Legislative Office Building, House members were trying to figure out how to spend money they are not sure they have.
Despite the fact that the leadership in the House has completely abandoned the cover story of not raising taxes, there were a few bright spots yesterday. More than once, a rough collection of rural Democrats and Republicans managed to pass amendments that stripped out tax increases on cigarettes, beer and wine.
During the early parts of the Finance Committee meeting, Rep. Van Braxton (D-Lenior) proposed an amendment that would eliminate the cigarette tax. Despite hearing dire warnings about public health consequences and the need for more revenue, an odd group of Democrats voted to kill the tax.
After the votes were tallied, Reps. Gibson(D-Union), Faison(D-Orange), Hughes(D-New Hanover), Jones(D-Guilford), Owens(D-Pasquotank), Womble(D-Forsyth) and Wainwright(D-Craven) had joined the Republicans on the Committee and supported Rep. Braxton's amendment.
While all of this cooperation across the aisle to cut taxes makes me misty eyed, the reality is that each one of these taxes will probably be put back into the bill during the mysterious process known as the conference committee. That's just how business is done at the Legislature.