Regarding Ned Barnett’s March 2 column “Taxes: how much and how fair?”: Conservatives simplified N.C.’s 1930s based tax system. We repealed more than 40 loopholes, greatly increased the standard deduction, lowered and flattened the rates applying equally to all taxpayers. Hidden, confusing franchise taxes were replaced with transparent sales taxes.
“Fairness” improves by taxing the same things the same way. Conservatives lowered the regressive sales tax rate, saving working families money on essential, everyday items like clothes and diapers. We kept food and prescription drugs free from state sales tax and kept Social Security untaxed.
Barnett wrote, “Tax laws should ... redistribute the burden upward.” He fails to acknowledge those earning more pay more income taxes with the majority of income taxes already paid by middle- and upper-income families. Desire to “redistribute” is social policy.
Taxes should be as low as possible, applied to as broad a base as possible and structured to encourage savings and investment. He wrote, “Taxes should be broadly increased” but misses the point that taking more money from residents to operate government than is absolutely necessary is unjust.
Conservatives, like families across our state, have begun to identify savings and efficiencies in state government. Spending wisely is the first step toward good government – not spending more.
State Rep. David Lewis
The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 53.