Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Radio No. 726: Tax Day reminds us of recent N.C. reforms

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The income tax filing deadline is approaching, and it’s a good time to remind ourselves of major changes North Carolina has made in recent years to the state’s personal income tax. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, recaps recent reforms and discusses additional changes that are under discussion now in the state Legislative Building. Ask a dozen different pundits, and you might get a dozen different answers about whether the American economy is heading toward prosperity or peril. Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University, co-edited a recent book assessing the national economy’s 50-year outlook. Whaples highlights key themes from that book, including obstacles that could limit future economic growth. Voters could have a chance to decide whether North Carolina should lower its constitutional limit on the state income tax rate. The current limit stands at 10 percent. A state Senate bill aims to reduce that limit to 5.5 percent, just above the current state tax rate. You’ll hear arguments for and against the change. It would require a positive vote in a statewide referendum. North Carolina lawmakers are pursuing new rules to restrict the use of the state’s “rainy-day” savings reserve. While the General Assembly has made a conscious effort to rebuild that reserve in recent years, they have had no rules to guide them. New legislation would mandate that a portion of each year’s revenue growth must head to the reserve. The plan also would limit rainy-day spending to a limited number of fiscal and natural emergencies. You’ll hear highlight from a recent debate about the topic. Now that the N.C. General Assembly has repealed controversial House Bill 2, the NCAA and ACC have announced that North Carolina is once again eligible to host the sports organizations’ championship events. It’s not clear that the fights sparked by the “bathroom bill” have ended. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the latest developments in the skirmish over LGBT rights.