Letters to the Editor

N&O readers not appreciative of Rep. Stam’s reminder on sales-tax cut

Rep. Paul Stam
Rep. Paul Stam cseward@newsobserver.com

Readers haven’t been real appreciative of State Rep. Paul Stam’s letter today reminding them about the sales-tax cut in North Carolina.

In case you missed it, here it is:

Sales-tax fog

The letter-writers complaining of tax reform have all forgotten about the $1 billion per year of sales tax reductions that began July 1, 2011. Apparently they don’t purchase anything.

State Rep. Paul Stam

Apex

The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 37.

Here’s a sampling of responses:

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog”: I was disturbed by Rep. Paul Stam’s remarks regarding letter-writers who have expressed their (negative) opinions of recent state tax reforms.

I would think that, as a member of the General Assembly, he would take the opportunity to educate the public about its actions, if he believes there is some misunderstanding regarding an important issue such as this. His snarky remark, “Apparently they don’t purchase anything,” is simply meanspirited and designed to denigrate the letter-writers and their opinions. There is no effort to hear and understand their points of view.

It demonstrates the attitude that many current lawmakers seem to have about the public, which is that we should just keep our disagreements to ourselves, because they know what is best for us. Many of us despair that civil discourse has fallen by the wayside and wonder how to change that.

If our leaders cannot model good behavior, then we are probably doomed to continued partisan bickering. Unless, of course, we demand better and seek new leaders.

Elaine Nanney

Chapel Hill

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog” from State Rep. Paul Stam: After a refund for 2013, I paid almost $1,500 for 2014. And while I haven’t forgotten the sales-tax reduction, as a retiree, I don’t purchase nearly enough to offset the deductions that were eliminated for tax year 2014.

Barbara Biggs

Raleigh

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog”: I had to chuckle at the letter from state Rep. Paul Stam because, once again, we have an elected official sneering down his nose, saying to those complaining of tax reform that, “Apparently they don’t purchase anything.”

Then I became indignant at this public servant’s crass dismissal of the people he is supposed to be serving. These letter-writers and people across the state buy things but barely and rarely. The poor continue to struggle to put food on their tables so the likelihood that they are out buying big-ticket items where a sales tax decrease just might be noticeable is slim to none.

The elderly (and even us not-so elderly) continue to be confronted with health care costs that are as debilitating as the illnesses they face where a big-ticket item isn’t a traditional sale but rather a necessary procedure or medication in order to stay alive. The elderly, the poor and even the middle class aren’t purchasing as much because they simply can’t afford to – sales tax reductions do not amount to a hill of beans.

And how conveniently the writer ignores all the new taxes on services and the proposed jump on car sales and leases. Stam should be ashamed.

Jonathan E. Curtis

Raleigh

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog”: While the sales-tax rate dropped 1 percent in 2011, it has been added to movies, concerts, sporting events, service contracts, newspaper subscriptions, museum admission, power bills, etc. The tax-free weekend has also disappeared. Apparently Rep. Paul Stam doesn’t participate in any of this.

Denise Bricker

Clayton

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog”: Seriously? Rep. Paul Stam chided us for “forgetting” the July 2011 sales tax decrease.

Maybe he forgets that many of us can read and have read in this very paper that a House bill has been introduced that would allow cities and towns to levy their own quarter-cent sales tax in order to make up for the loss of business privilege tax collections that the legislature did away with last year.

But, yes, the current legislature will boast that it has lowered our taxes (with little regard for the consequences, apparently).

Quit playing games, sir.

Kathy Grosvenor

Raleigh

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Regarding the April 29 letter “The sales-tax fog”: We are well aware of all the increases we’re seeing in sales taxes. We’re reminded every time we pay the electric bill, the telephone bill, the cable bill, etc.

So far as I can see, there were no sales-tax reductions. Rep. Paul Stam and associates put sales taxes on everything that didn’t move (except yachts and private planes, of course).

Based on my observations, I think the middle class can conclude that the Republicans in the General Assembly hate us. While the Democrats are called the “tax and spend” party, the Republicans are the party of “tax the poor and middle class and give the money to our wealthy supporters.”

Lynn Johnson

Smithfield

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Regarding the April 29 People’s Forum comment by State Rep Paul Stam entitled “The sales-tax fog”: Yes, there was a 1% sales deduction which took place July 1, 2011. But for those who itemize on their tax return, it is greatly offset. It is obvious there are no calculators or spreadsheet programs available to our legislators. Let us help them out and do the numbers.

SALES TAX SAVINGS

$45,906. Average household income in NC in 2013 (ranks 29th in the nation)

.50% Estimate of goods subject to sales tax

$22,953. Income subject to sales tax

.01% Sales tax reduction

$229.53 Per year savings due to sales tax reduction per household

INCOME TAX CHANGES

$7,838. Average medical expenses for adjusted gross income $15,000.-$30,000.

$2,127.

Average charitable contribution for adjusted gross income $15,000-$30,000.

$9,965. Average deductions not allowed for adjusted gross income $15,000-$30,000.

.058% NC Income tax rate

$577.97 Additional income taxes paid

$348.44 Net new taxes paid per year

Who is in a fog?

Rome Fontaine

Apex

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