Raleigh News & Observer: GOP budget short on vision, long on breaks for the rich
The NC GOP’s budget claims it gives a raise to teachers and state workers, but the average raise for North Carolina teachers is a measly 3.3%. And state retirees are getting a raise also….of 1%. So who is benefitting from the NC GOP’s budget? The top .01% who will receive a 5.25% personal income tax rate and big corporations who will receive a 3% income tax rate. It’s clear who the NC GOP is looking out for and it’s not teachers or state employees. It’s those who work for big corporations and those in the top .01%.
It’s hard to say which is worse: that Republicans boast of all their puny good deed-doing for teachers and lower-income people in the state budget, or that they think so little of the citizens they represent that they believe they’ll be fooled by the GOP’s rhetoric.
Sure, the GOP budget gives teachers an average pay raise of 3.3 percent, but it’s a paltry sum if the intent is to make up for years of underpaying those entrusted with the future of North Carolina’s children, and thus the future itself. Retired state employees are getting a 1 percent cost-of-living increase – don’t spend it all in one place, unless it’s a gumball machine.
But not everybody came up short. Tax cuts that will benefit the wealthy will come in 2019, with the personal income tax rate going from 5.499 percent to 5.25 percent, a nice boost for the wealthy but one that won’t make much difference to average folks – who, by the way, are paying more in taxes thanks to sales tax hikes and others that hit lower- and middle-income people hardest but make no different to the rich. And all those undertaxed corporations out there, just hold on. The corporate income tax will be dropping again, to 2.5 percent from 3 percent.
Gov. Roy Cooper had it right with strong criticism of the GOP plan, saying his staff had found the Republican budget conveys a belief “that those making millions of dollars should get a tax break 85 times bigger than middle class families.”
Cooper ripped the budget for falling short on economic development in rural areas, on the opiod crisis and for teachers.
One of the more outrageous omissions from the budget has to do with a cut to legal aid funding, a pittance as critics note, but something that’s not a Republican priority. This is just another slap at the poor. It’s just plain mean.