Last week, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue proposed an increase in the state sales tax, taking more than $800 million out of the pockets of North Carolinians. She tries to sell the plan as a tool for education funding, but she fails to offer any meaningful strategy ensuring the money will be spent wisely.
The governor's proposal would result in a 15 percent increase in the state portion of the sales tax, negatively affecting every level of society. Now is not the time to raise taxes - especially on single moms, senior citizens and the unemployed. The governor will say "It's just a penny." It is not a penny. It is $800 million from the pocketbooks of people, many of whom are just making ends meet. Moreover, $320 million will be paid by our state's job creating engines - mostly small businesses.
The legislature has taken positive steps for education over the past year. Despite inheriting a $3 billion structural deficit from the governor's last budget, we passed a balanced budget that actually resulted in an increase in the number of state-funded teaching positions. And we did it without raising taxes.
The governor's call to raise taxes without a plan to improve our schools is evidence that she is satisfied with the status quo and believes it's simply a matter of more money. Legislators disagree. The governor needs to avoid management debacles, such as the hundreds of millions of dollars in waste caused by a new HHS information system and a mismanaged motor fleet. There is plenty of room to more wisely spend the tax revenues we already receive before we increase the burden.