N.C. Senate Republican leaders are trying again to cap personal income taxes by amending the state’s constitution.
Filed Tuesday, Senate Bill 75 would ban lawmakers from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5 percent – if voters approve the constitutional amendment in a ballot referendum, which would be held during the November 2018 election.
Currently, the constitution caps income tax rates at 10 percent. Lawmakers have set the personal income tax rate at 5.499 percent – so the amendment would prevent any future tax hikes.
Senate leader Phil Berger’s office issued a news release Tuesday promoting the bill, which is sponsored by Republican Sens. Tommy Tucker of Union County, Jerry Tillman of Archdale and Andrew Brock of Mocksville.
“Since Republican tax cuts have helped create hundreds of thousands of North Carolina jobs and a half-billion-dollar budget surplus, and since Gov. Roy Cooper has said he does not want to raise taxes, we hope he will enthusiastically support this constitutional amendment,” Tucker said in a news release.
The proposal is likely to face opposition from Democrats, and the N.C. Budget and Tax Center – part of the liberal N.C. Justice Center – raised concerns about the bill Tuesday.
“Amending the state constitution to put in place a low and arbitrary tax rate on income will tie the hands of future lawmakers and continue to make it difficult to meet community needs,” Budget and Tax Center director Alexandra Sirota said in an email. “Policymakers should be budgeting based on what our communities need to thrive, not limiting flexibility and forcing cuts to vital services or shifts to other taxes that ensure middle- and low-income taxpayers pay more.”
The Senate approved a similar bill last year that also included proposed constitutional amendments involving hunting rights and eminent domain. It passed the Senate in a 31-18 vote, mostly along party lines, but it never got a hearing in the House.