by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Hood’s latest Daily Journal asks whether Gov. Roy Cooper and his administration want to raise North Carolina’s tax burden by $3 billion a year.
It’s a fair question to ask given what Charlie Perusse, the governor’s budget director, said at a recent press briefing. While explaining that the Cooper administration will likely propose vastly more spending next year than the state will receive in revenue, Perusse complained that all the tax changes enacted by the Republican-led legislature over the years will result in $3 billion less revenue during the 2018-19 fiscal year than what would have been in the case under a straight-line extrapolation of the fiscal policies of the last Democratic governor Perusse worked for, Bev Perdue.
Although counterfactuals are hard to establish with certainty, assume for the sake of argument that Perusse is correct. Assume that without the GOP tax cuts, North Carolina’s annual tax burden would be $3 billion higher.
Does that mean that Roy Cooper wishes those tax cuts hadn’t happened? If Democrats had the votes in the General Assembly, would he propose a $3 billion tax hike to fund state government at an “acceptable” level?