Skip to comments.Republicans Talking Tax Reform (North Carolina)
Posted on 01/12/2013 3:14:11 PM PST by Libloather
The newly elected North Carolina General Assembly was sworn in this week. It is decidedly Republican, with the Republicans having a 31-to-19 advantage in the state Senate and a 67 to 52 advantage in the state House.
There is also a huge change for 2013 in that North Carolina has a Republican governor. Former Gov. Bev "Dumpling" Perdue vetoed quite a few bills in the last session and even more bills were never introduced because the Republicans knew they would never make it past the governor's desk. Now the legislature has a governor who will be working with them, not against them.
The General Assembly, the governor's office and the North Carolina Supreme Court are all Republican dominated. Republicans are expected to get down to Raleigh and get to work, starting Jan. 30.
Talking to two Republican House members Dist. 62 Rep. John Blust, a long time veteran of the General Assembly, and rookie Dist. 59 Rep. Jon Hardister you hear the same lyrics but very different melodies. Blust has been around. He is serving his seventh term in the House, having been first elected to the House in 2000, and in 1996 he served a term-and-a-half in the state Senate.
So Blust has spent the vast majority of his time in the legislature in the minority. The reports would come out after every session listing the Democrats in the legislature as effective and the Republicans as ineffective the more conservative, the more ineffective. Now the shoe is on the other foot and Republicans like Blust, who had been listed as ineffective, are doing the same stuff they have always done, introducing the same type of bills, voting the same way, and suddenly they have become effective and the Democrats are ineffective. It is an absurd rating system, but it is nice to see it get turned around. However, the mainstream media don't harp on it as much since the Republicans are now the effective legislators.
Hardister ran for the District 57 house seat against Rep. Pricey Harrison in 2010. He ran a good campaign but lost in a district that had been drawn by the Democrats for a Democrat. In 2012 Hardister had a tough Republican primary running in District 59, but was unopposed in the general election in a district that was drawn by Republicans for a Republican. The mainstream media find much fault with Republicans drawing Republican districts, but for more than a century when the Democrats drew districts for Democrats that was not a problem.
What is amazing is that the Republicans won the majority in both the House and the Senate in districts drawn by Democrats to elect Democrats. Only after they won majorities in both houses did the Republicans get to draw their own districts.
Blust and Hardister both said it was a given that voter identification was going to get passed pretty quick. There is some question about what form the voter ID bill will take, but there seems to be no question that it will be done pretty quickly.
Hardister said, "The top issue is economic development."
But he said, "We have to look at tax reform, reforming the budgetary process and regulatory reform."
Hardister said, "There is an agreement that tax reform is going to be a major issue."
Blust agreed that there was a lot of talk about tax reform, but having been around a while Blust is far more skeptical about getting it done.
Blust said, "I keep hearing the words tax reform but nobody has given me any details. I've heard no proposals."
Blust noted that the state was facing an ongoing budget problem with the billions owed to the federal government for unemployment payments that would have to be fixed right off the bat.
Talking about new Republican governor, Pat McCrory, Blust said he hadn't heard any specifics about how he planned to accomplish all he wanted to do. He said, "It was a pretty issueless campaign."
Blust said, "We need to get the budget under control and then put some constraints on it so it can't grow so much."
Blust said he planned to get out his Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) bill and take a look at it. The taxpayer bill of rights would put a limit on how much the state government could increase the budget, most likely basing it on inflation and on the increase in population. It is designed to keep budgets from growing out of control like the current state budget. It is also the type of bill that was dead on arrival when the Democrats controlled Raleigh.
Blust also said the discussion the country needs to be having is about the unfunded liability that the government has.
Hardister is obviously itching to get down to Raleigh and get to work and is much more optimistic than Blust about the tax reform. Both agree it is a huge issue, but Hardister says he thinks they can get it done.
Hardister said, "One thing I don't want to do is balance the budget by raising taxes."
Hardister said, "I know John Blust has introduced TABOR, putting a cap on spending. But I don't know if that will be palatable with the House and Senate."
He said that if not TABOR then something had to be done to make politicians more responsible about spending.
Hardister said he had heard a lot of different ideas about tax reform, but one that seemed to have some traction was eliminating personal and corporate income tax and going to a consumption tax, much like the sales tax we have now, but it would be expanded to include services.
Hardister said there were some things about a consumption tax he liked, but he wasn't ready to support any idea until he had more facts. He said the John Locke Foundation had a plan it was pushing that included a flat rate on personal income tax and abolishing the corporate income tax.
Hardister seemed confident that the General Assembly would be able to work something out in the way of major tax reform. Blust said he'd heard a lot of talk but not much in the way of specifics.
Hardister also said he thought education reform was long overdue. He said, "I'm a strong advocate of education but that doesn't mean we have to spend more money on education. I support charter schools and tax credits for parents."
He added, "Our goal should be to give parents more choice. More freedom to make decisions about their child's education."
Hardister said he thought there was a lot of support among Republicans for giving parents more choices through charter schools and tax credits.
After talking about the economy first, Hardister said, "Going into my first term the issues that will be front and center for me are tax reform, regulatory reform and education. Those are at the top of my agenda."
They need to take a long look at the state’s ABC program. The people running ABC stores are often political appointees who make a crapload of money doing work that doesn’t warrant it.
I thought the GOP raided their House advantage in NC to 77-42 -
That’s what I noticed. If my son wasn’t in N.C. I would be so tempted to go to N.D. :) Get it going before the feds do something stupid.