Members of a House committee passed a bill Thursday morning that would allow taxpayers to make donations to state government and offset budget cuts.
House Bill 877, Check Off Donation: Government Funding, would allow filers to donate all or a portion of their state income tax refunds to six accounts, including the Department of Public Instruction, the state university system, and the general fund.
“On the merits of it, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking people to give a dollar or two to help out the state,” said Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford.
Other Democrats disagreed. “This totally undermines the legislative process, and it’s why it’s not a good idea,” said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham.
Republican sponsors offered the bill as an alternative to renewing a 1-cent sales tax increase set to expire June 30. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue suggested that three-fourths of the tax be renewed, but the GOP has been united in opposition to the idea.
The measure passed the House Government Committee in a 23-11 vote, but not before legislators fought over technicalities and debated which political ideology — conservatives or liberals — donates more to charity. The bill now goes to the House floor.
David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.