by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Consider North Carolina. Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2010 for the first time since Reconstruction, and next month the Tar Heel State is likely to become the 26th state where Republicans control the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature. The Republican gubernatorial nominee, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, has said that tax reform will be a top priority if he is elected, which appears likely given his double-digit lead in the latest polls. The state now has one of the nation’s least competitive tax regimes. But based on proposals being discussed at the capitol, North Carolina lawmakers next year could enact one of the boldest and most pro-growth state tax reforms in history.
Reducing and possibly eliminating the state personal and corporate income tax, both now the highest in the Southeast, is also a top priority for many in the legislature. In North Carolina’s final gubernatorial debate last week, McCrory reiterated his intention to provide personal and corporate income tax relief. Legislative leadership and McCrory have made clear that any tax reform would be revenue neutral.
This is the same commitment that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made at the federal level. It’s an important marker to lay down, since it tells spending interests that tax reform will not be used as a Trojan Horse for raising taxes.