Under the Dome

Dome: NC Senate bills would lower personal and corporate tax rates

Staff writersApril 3, 2013 

The state’s personal and corporate income tax rates would gradually decrease under two major tax bills introduced Wednesday by leading Senate Republicans.

Under Senate bill 669, the personal income tax would fall to 4 percent by 2016 for most households, and married couples making less than $12,500 would pay no income tax. The state’s current rate for the top income bracket is 7.75 percent – the highest in the Southeast.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, a possible U.S. Senate candidate in 2014, took the unusual step of signing on as a primary sponsor of the measure.

A Berger spokeswoman said the bill is a placeholder for a larger plan expected in coming days that calls for the complete elimination of the personal income tax. She referred all other questions to Sen. Bob Rucho, a primary co-sponsor, who was not immediately available for comment.

The second measure, Senate bill 677, reduces the state’s 6.9 percent corporate income tax rate to 6 percent after 2015. The legislation is scheduled for its first hearing Tuesday.

One thing missing from the bills is a provision extending the sales tax to more than 100 services and increasing the rate – two components initially pitched by Rucho and other Senate Republicans as a conceptual plan earlier this session.

Francis De Luca, the president at the Civitas Institute, a leading cheerleader for the effort, said in a statement that more reforms are coming but called the bills “a fine start.”

Cobey to lead education board

Former U.S. Rep. Bill Cobey was elected chairman of the State Board of Education on Wednesday.

Cobey replaces Bill Harrison, a former school district superintendent who left the board earlier this year after his term expired.

R.L. “Buddy” Collins of Forsyth County was elected vice president. Equality NC, a gay advocacy group, tried to get Gov. Pat McCrory to withdraw Collins’ appointment.

Cobey is a former chairman of the state Republican Party. He was sworn in as a board of education member along with five other McCrory appointees.

House panel: Be partisan

Despite opposition from local officials, a state House committee Wednesday voted to make Sanford municipal and school board elections partisan.

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive and other council and school board officials asked the House Elections not to pass a bill making local elections partisan.

Olive said local government had run well for years, and officials “have not been obsessed with politics.’’

But Rep. Mike Stone, a Republican from Sanford, said he was for it, and several GOP lawmakers said providing party affiliation would give voters more information. The House committee passed it on a divided voice vote.

Appointees helped McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign raised $156,394 with the help of nine men and a woman who will take their seats Thursday as his appointees to the state Board of Transportation, according to financial disclosure statements released Wednesday by McCrory’s office.

The governor’s top helper among the group is Michael C. Smith of Raleigh, president of Kane Realty Corp., the developer of North Hills. Smith is the new transportation board representative for Division 5, seven Triangle-area counties including Durham and Wake.

Smith is the only one of the 10 new board members who reports no campaign contributions directly from himself to McCrory. But he says he worked as a campaign fundraiser, bringing in $106,000 from other donors to McCrory, and his brother gave $250.

Staff writers John Frank, Craig Jarvis, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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