State budgets reflect priorities and in North Carolina, the priorities of Senate President Pro-tem Phil Berger could not be more clear. The senate budget passed last week makes steep cuts in public education including slashing our nationally recognized Pre-K program. So kids aren’t his priority. It cuts $50 million from our university system. So, higher education is not his priority. It cuts mental health services at the same time they’re promoting proliferation of guns in places like bars. So public safety and helping those who need help the most is not his priority. I can go on and on but suffice it to say that the people who need good government the most will get the least.
So who will benefit? The wealthy, of course. While they haven’t rolled out all the details, Berger unveiled a tax reform package that will cut taxes for the wealthiest while increasing taxes on the vast majority of the citizens. They claim it’s a tax cut because they shift away from income taxes to consumption (read sales) taxes. While you may pay a little less in income taxes, you will pay taxes on food, medicine, haircuts and other essential goods and services.
Fortunately, the Young Democrats of North Carolina is telling the truth on the Berger Tax Plan. They’ve launched a web site and web ad that lays out the problems with the plan. They note that the plan will raise taxes on 80% of North Carolina families including an increase of almost $500 a year in groceries alone.
The YD’s also point out that the plan would reduce the sales tax refund for churches and charities. So, while Berger is busy cutting government services to families, particularly poor ones, he’s also reducing the amount of money charities will have to take up the slack.
Berger’s philosophy is clear. He believes what George H. W. Bush called “voodoo economics,” that if the rich are doing well, prosperity will trickle down to the rest of us. It’s never worked and it never will.