by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
First, the Legislature needs to bring the benefits of fiscal responsibility home to each taxpayer through permanent tax reform. While the details have yet to be finalized, the Legislature may pass a bill to eliminate both the corporate and personal income tax. The state will make up the lost revenue by broadening the sales tax rate. This will encourage saving and investment, leading to higher job creation and greater overall prosperity.
Second, the state needs to take advantage of its energy reserves. Gov. Pat McCrory says he will join with his regional governors in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia to negotiate with the federal government for energy exploration off the Eastern Seaboard. In addition, the state needs to finalize regulations for natural gas development so that investors and entrepreneurs get a green light to open shop. Natural gas has already created millions of jobs in 32 other states across the nation. Pennsylvania alone nearly doubled its mining jobs over the past three years and continues to grow thanks to natural gas. It’s North Carolina’s turn to jump on the bandwagon.
Third and finally, the state needs to invest more wisely in the education of its children. Two options currently under consideration would vastly expand education choice for low-income parents — those who have the least options for their children’s future. One bill would provide a means-tested voucher program to help low-income families to escape failing classrooms and send their children to the best school they can find. Another bill would reform the recently passed Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities to make it available to families with lower incomes.