The Greensboro News & Record this week expressed opposition over the six constitutional amendments going on ballots this fall in NC. One concern they had was the alleged limited knowledge likely voters had of the amendments.
So it’s unfortunate that only one in five of you polled by HPU then said you had heard very much about these amendments. As low as that percentage is, it’s remarkably higher than a similar poll conducted about a month ago by Elon University.
That brings us to this essential point: Will you have any idea what these amendments say, how they might be enacted and whether they are a good idea for our constitution and — more importantly — you?
So twenty percent of poll respondents said they hadn’t heard “very much” about the amendments – and that raises alarm bells to the N&R editorial staff.
But compare that to the 41 percent of poll respondents that could not name the sitting governor of North Carolina, according to Civitas’ latest poll (this poll was taken pre-Florence, however). In other words, twice as many people do not know Roy Cooper is the current governor than have reportedly “heard very much” about the amendments. Do the N&R editors share the same concerns about people having “any idea” about the impact Roy Cooper’s governership will have on them when they voted for him?
Moreover, they raise questions on each of the amendments to try to cast doubt on them. Here is what they said about the tax cap amendment:
More than six out of 10 like the idea of reducing the state’s maximum income tax.Should the constitution engrave a rate that may need periodic review because of economic pendulums?
This tactic of creating the illusion that the state’s hands will somehow be tied during economic downturns is not unique to the N&R. But missing from their question is the fact that the amendment this fall would lower the state’s income tax cap from 10% to 7%, which would still allow a great amount of latitude. Income tax rates in North Carolina in 2019 will be 5.25% for personal and 2.5% for corporate.
In short, the corporate tax rate would still be allowed to nearly triple (180 percent increase) before reaching the 7% cap, while the personal tax rate could increase by a third before reaching the cap.
For quick reference with some back of the envelope estimates, with personal income tax revenues at $12.5 billion, a 33 percent tax hike would generate more than $4 billion in additional revenue (not taking dynamic effects into consideration). A tripling of the corporate tax would generate roughly $1.5 billion. I guess “limiting” legislators to just $5.5 billion in additional revenue (not even bringing in the option of raising sales taxes) is just not enough for big government advocates.
All this is not to advocate for tax hikes during recession, of course. That’s the worst thing to do. Much better to cut spending. But the point of this post is to point out the baseless fear-mongering by statists in an attempt to turn out opposition to sensible restraints on government largesse.