Under the Dome

Reaction is sharp on news of projected $400 million NC budget surplus

The news of Wednesday on the state budget is boiled into a number: $400 million. Legislative and administration economists say in a memo that is the projected state budget surplus for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Read more by clicking here.

The key report says: “The anticipated surplus is predominately due to higher income tax payments and lower refunds from the 2014 tax year.”

The news has prompted plenty of reaction. Here’s a sample from Twitter, news releases and interviews:

Gov. Pat McCrory: “We have a growing economy in North Carolina for the first time in five or six years. It shows that fiscal responsibility does work.”

House Speaker Tim Moore: “The lower, flat personal income tax rate has spurred economic growth and job creation that in-turn has provided North Carolina with a budget surplus. It is important to note that the revenue surplus, while welcome, still ensures more money in the pockets of working families than before our comprehensive tax reform.”

Senate leader Phil Berger: “Two years ago, when the Republican legislature passed the largest tax cut in state history, Chicken Littles on the left loudly cried North Carolina would lose so much tax revenue that students wouldn’t have teachers, roads wouldn’t be built and our universities might have to close. But far from starving state government, tax cuts and tax reform have spurred economic growth and job creation – a turnaround that has provided our state with a surplus that will allow us to continue cutting taxes while investing in core priorities like education, infrastructure and public safety.”

Senate Democratic leader Dan Blue: “Just three weeks ago today, seniors, small businesses and middle class families across North Carolina got slammed on Tax Day – paying more than ever before. With the repeal of the medical expense deduction, the earned income tax credit, and the small business tax credit, the everyday North Carolinian is still struggling to get by, and that is unacceptable. ... Thanks to this Republican tax code, people are making less money, giant corporations are keeping more, and middle class families are paying an enormous price. It is time to put the middle class first.”

State Republican Party: “Refunds are a result of the government taking too much money from people’s paychecks in the first place (and as a result, taking that money out of the economy) and having to give it back at the end of the year. As a part of tax reform, paycheck withholdings were adjusted so they are more accurate throughout the year. That may mean less of a refund at the end of the year, but that's because people no longer pay too much to the government and got more money in their paychecks. Of course anyone can adjust their withholdings. Only Democrats could try and spin this as a negative.

State Democratic Party: “In a striking fiscal report, it was noted that tax returns increased despite North Carolina wages failing to meet projections. Meanwhile corporate incomes increased. Under Governor McCrory’s tax increase, middle class families paid new taxes on medical expenses, electricity and childcare and higher sales taxes even for family activities and back to school supplies.”

NC Democratic Party chairwoman Patsy Keever: “Thanks to Governor McCrory, giant corporations are getting huge tax breaks while middle class families are making less money and are paying higher taxes. Those are the wrong priorities and make it clear to families across North Carolina: Pat McCrory just isn’t on your side.”

NC Republican Party exectuive director Todd Poole: “After Republican policies have delivered 200,000 new jobs, across the board tax cuts and a budget surplus, it appears N.C. Democrats have hit the panic button and are desperately resorting to lying to the North Carolina people. Only Democrats could try to spin that a $400 million budget surplus from across the board income tax cuts and a roaring economy is a result of a tax hike. It is clear that they are desperate to return to the days of budget deficits, big government, higher taxes and fewer jobs under the Democrat leadership of the past.”

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