J.J. Summerell: Radical tax plan change needed

June 25, 2014 

The tax reform plan announced by state Sen. Phil Berger is just another charade designed to make citizens think Republicans are actually reducing taxes. Calling it the Tax Fairness Act and claiming it’s the largest tax cut in state history is misleading at best. In fact, it isn’t fair and it isn’t a tax cut.

Berger and the other Republican leaders at their news conference last week probably used the word “fair” hundreds of times. No tax is fair. Taxes are inherently unfair. Every tax hurts someone. The only difference between taxes proposed by Republicans and Democrats is which special interest group is going to benefit and which is going to pay.

Granted, Berger’s plan moves North Carolina from a system of taxation that taxes production to a taxation system that taxes consumption. This is a step in the right direction but only a small, miniscule step rather than the major reform that is needed. The individual and corporate income taxes should be repealed immediately. One hundred percent repealed, not simply marginally reduced.

A “revenue neutral” plan that increases the number of things taxed can’t be called a tax cut. Nor can it be called “fair,” because it shifts the tax burden onto the backs of those least able to pay. The truth is, Republicans and Democrats believe the same thing. They insist that only way to fund what they claim are essential government programs is through taxes. Whether the tax is proposed by a liberal or a conservative, the idea is based on one premise: We don’t own our money or the fruits of our labor because the state has the right to take what it wants.

Only Libertarians believe that we own the fruits of our labor and enterprise, and that government does not have the right to take it from us. We believe taxation is by its very nature destructive to the economy, especially job creation. We propose to reduce the need for increased taxes by reducing the size of state government in every way possible.

We would use the John Locke Foundation’s “Budget for Growth” as a starting point. Ending corporate welfare and state aid to special interests would save over $100 million annually with no cuts to other programs.

Libertarians agree with Berger on one point. We can’t fix the broken state tax code by nibbling at the edges. Yet his tax plan does just that. The senator proposes minimal change. Libertarians propose radical change. North Carolina’s tax code is obsolete and oppressive to the working class. Libertarians are working to change that.

J.J. Summerell

Chair, Libertarian Party of North Carolina

Raleigh

The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.

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