McCrory Says Tax Reform Is ‘Very Close’
Gov. Pat McCrory sounded an optimistic note while discussing tax reform during a Monday press conference marking his first six months in office. McCrory, a Republican, discussed a number of issues during the session with reporters.
“We have been in many, many, many meetings for tax reform,” McCrory said. “We are very close to possibly getting tax reform done.” However, McCrory said there were some “points of contention” between him and the GOP-controlled General Assembly about the issue.
McCrory said his primary concern was making sure that a new tax system would raise enough money to fund essential state services in outlying years.
“As governor, I’ve got to ensure that we have sufficient revenues for the long term to do the basic operations of state government,” McCrory said.
During his State of the State address earlier this year, McCrory called for tax reform to be revenue neutral. Both the Senate and House-passed plans would bring in less revenue than projected by the current system, according to legislative fiscal analysts.
The most recent Senate plan, approved last week, would bring on $962.9 million a year less than the existing tax code.
The version passed by the House last month is projected to bring in $570.9 million less a year than the current tax code in the final years of the five years scored by fiscal analysts.
GOP leaders have said that while revenues would grow year after year, the tax reform plans would slow the growth of government.
McCrory said that he feels uneasy about the growth projections.
“I frankly disagree with some of the revenue projections that are in several of the bills that have been presented,” McCrory said. “However, I do think there is an opportunity to come to a conclusion where we can get a bill up to 2015.”
McCrory said projections after 2015 are “very speculative.”
Last week, John Locke Foundation President John Hood suggested that lawmakers include revenue triggers in the bill, which would defer some tax cuts if revenues don’t meet projections.
McCrory said he planned to protect the integrity of the budget and the revenue streams “to ensure that we have sufficient resources to deliver the services that the people of North Carolina deserve.”
McCrory also spoke out on action taken by the Senate last week adding restrictions to abortions in North Carolina. He has been critical of the process the Senate took in passing the changes with little notice to the public.
“I am encouraging the House to have that debate this week,” McCrory said.
On the bill itself, McCrory said that there is a fine line between adding safety measures for women seeking abortions and placing restrictions on abortion access. He said he felt that some parts of the bill “would clearly cross that line.”
McCrory also commented on “Moral Monday” protests that have descended on Raleigh in recent weeks. He called that moniker “misleading,” saying it suggests that people taking a different view of the issues advocated by protesters were immoral.
The governor said that people should respect differences of opinion on public policies. He also commended protesters for being nonviolent.
• Discussed the flooding in western North Carolina, saying state staffers were working to provide help. “Our hearts and prayers are with you,” McCrory said.
• Listed some accomplishments of his administration, including getting a vocational education bill and transportation mobility bill passed.
• Called for lawmakers to complete work on a number of items — including an energy bill and commerce reform — before adjourning and going home.
• Said he opposed legislation allowing motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. He also opposes increasing the speed limit on some highways to 75 mph without a study.
• Responded to a question about his budget director Art Pope, calling him extremely capable at his job. “He should be commended for his service,” McCrory said.
Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.