Politics & Government

You'll be voting on a 'max tax' this November


Your state income tax rate is 5.49 percent, and in November, you'll get a chance to ensure it won't rise above 7 percent.

Republican legislators on Thursday approved a measure that could limit the income tax to 7 percent, so long as voters approve a referendum this November to amend the North Carolina Constitution.

The constitution currently caps the income tax rate at 10 percent. Republicans earlier this month sought a constitutional amendment referendum to lower it to 5.5 percent.

The House approved the measure, which some refer to as a "max tax" rate, on Wednesday.

The Senate approved the 7 percent figure Thursday despite warnings from some Republicans a day earlier that they wouldn't support it, calling for a tighter cap.

"We have a spending problem, therefore with the inability to curtail that at 5.5 percent, I’ll be voting against the motion to concur," said Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Union County Republican.

Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, asked his colleagues to support it.

“It would be better if we could cap the income tax at 5.5 percent. I think that would be real progress," Berger said. "But I also think moving the maximum income tax rate from 10 percent to 7 percent is progress, just not as much. That is as far as the House would go."

Meanwhile, most Democrats opposed both proposals on grounds that they would leave the state government with limited ability to generate revenue in tough economic times. And some advocacy groups echoed that sentiment.

"Once again, we believe the whole concept of tying the state's hands down the road is bad for education, bad for business and bad for NC," the Public School Forum of North Carolina tweeted Thursday.