JLF Research Archive
Showing items 1 to 25 of 233
Time to get serious about capital gains, the next step in tax reform
The best route to a real consumption tax is through the income tax
North Carolina’s tax code penalizes savings and investment by double taxing their returns— specifically interest, dividends, and capital gains. These biases can only be eliminated by removing savings and investment from the tax base, or by eliminating the returns to saving; for example abolishing the taxation of capital gains.
The Tax Foundation estimates that, once all reforms are fully phased in, North Carolina’s overall business tax climate ranking will be 13th best in the country. According to the 2016 index, North Carolina is now ranked as the 15th most attractive business tax climate.
This study surveys North Carolina’s most populous cities and examines how each conducts economic development in its jurisdiction. Collectively, they entered into 238 economic development contracts worth more than $65 million over the five-year period. Actual payments, however, totaled $20.2 million.
For fiscal year 2015-16, the General Fund budget will rise 3.1 percent to $21.7 billion, below the combined rates of population growth and inflation. The following year, the budget will have an overall increase of less than one-percent.
By The Numbers provides information on how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.
Between FY 2009 and FY 2014, 81 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties participated in economic development activities. Counties entered into 776 contracts worth nearly $284 million in incentives over the five-year period. Actual payments, however, totaled $144 million.
A reverse logroll for the 2015-17 biennium budget would greatly benefit taxpayers, leaving surpluses of approximately $383 million in the first year and $639 million in the second year. This allows lawmakers more flexibility to lower taxes or fund other priorities.
The John Locke Foundation is continuing its tradition, started in 1995, of offering an alternative to the governor’s budget recommendation. Consistent with prior years, this JLF budget focuses on core government. This budget spends less in both years of the biennium than the governor’s, and only increases spending by 2 percent from the last fiscal year.
The governor and Republican members of the state legislature are advocating for a host of new incentive programs and the extension and/or expansion of others. However, these programs are likely to harm consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs who are not privy to the subsidies.
Overall, North Carolina ranks 23rd in the nation and 5th among the 12 states of the Southeast in freedom. North Carolina ranks 16th in fiscal freedom, 18th in educational freedom, 36th in regulatory freedom, and 46th in health care freedom.
The North Carolina historic preservation tax credits sunset on January 1, 2015. State government should strive to keep the tax code clean. If lawmakers choose to enact a program to aid in historic preservation, a grant program is a better alternative than a tax credit.
Capital gains taxes penalize saving, investment, and therefore entrepreneurship, by imposing a second layer of taxation on equity investment. The most straightforward way to end this bias is to eliminate the tax on capital gains completely.
For fiscal year 2014-15, North Carolina’s General Fund budget rose 2.2 percent to $21.1 billion. It funded an average teacher salary increase of 7 percent, one of the largest pay raises for North Carolina teachers in a generation, and created a Medicaid contingency fund of $186.4 million.
North Carolina passed a law during the 2014 legislative session taxing the liquid used in electronic cigarettes at an additional 5 cents per milliliter. This tax will hurt small businesses and violates the most important principle of good tax policy—neutrality. The North Carolina General Assembly should repeal the electronic cigarette tax.
The economic recession that hit full force in 2008 was declared officially over in June 2009 when the country experienced two quarters of very slow growth. But a troubled housing sector and a still-sluggish economy with high unemployment have contributed to the fiscal crises facing many cities and counties in North Carolina. As always, this edition of By the Numbers is must reading for government officials and taxpayers alike. It highlights what kinds of fiscal problems face local governments in an economy that grows only very slowly. With the facts given here, county commissioners and city council members can easily compare their area’s tax burden to similarly situated cities or counties. For taxpayers, BTN is a starting point for questions about taxes and spending, enabling them to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable.
Reverse logrolling applied to the current state budget would result in a General Fund budget of $20.6 billion and a $667 million surplus, which would allow legislators more flexibility when discussing spending priorities, including teacher pay increases. It would also allow enough to be set aside in savings and reserves to avoid any unforeseen shortfalls in the next fiscal year.
Every two years since 1996, coinciding with North Carolina's races for the General Assembly, the John Locke Foundation has published a revised edition of Agenda, our public policy guide for candidates and voters. Typically as we enter the campaign season, candidates for public office in North Carolina are faced with a daunting task: to develop informed positions on dozens of public policy issues. In the pages of Agenda 2014 we provide a concise and easily digestible guide covering a wide range of specific issues, from taxes and spending to energy policy and education.
Officials from Haywood County have proposed an increase in the county’s occupancy tax by 50 percent, which would disadvantage Haywood compared to surrounding counties with lower rates. Taxation is justified only for necessary purposes of government. Tourism promotion is not such a function and can best be served by the private sector.
Most studies find that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation, and lower energy prices correlate with stronger economic performance. The implications of this research track well with recent public policies adopted in North Carolina. Judging from the available empirical evidence, North Carolina’s new policy mix is likely to result in stronger economic growth in the coming years.
The average North Carolina household in every income category received a tax cut from the 2013 tax reform. Considering both 2011 and 2013 tax changes, the average household in both the lowest and highest income categories is receiving a tax cut of about 1 percent of income.
Regardless of how it is measured, state spending is increasing. North Carolina’s total state budget peaked in 2012, reaching more than $51 billion or $5,348 per capita, with federal spending totaling 45 percent of total expenditures.
In 2013, North Carolina implemented fundamental tax reform, with changes to personal and corporate income taxes and sales tax. The plan cuts taxes by about $4.75 billion over five years, assuming the state meets certain revenue triggers and implements the plan fully. The importance of reducing tax revenues is that it transfers resources from political to private sector control, enhancing the overall efficiency of how these resources are used.
General Fund spending totals $20.6 billion for fiscal year 2013-14, only a 2.5 percent increase from the previous year, with Medicaid accounting for the largest increase in spending and tax reform saving taxpayers more than half-a-billion dollars over the two years.