From  Inline image 1
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Point and Counterpoint: About That New Tax Bill
It Reflects the Republicans’ Commitment to the Rich
The author, president of the Moore County Democratic Women, lives in Southern Pines.
By Darlene Dunham, Special to The Pilot
If there was any doubt before the passage of the House tax bill that the leaders of the Republican Party have lost their compass, their raison d’etre, that doubt was all but erased in the middle of the night Dec. 2, 2017. While most of America slept, those early-morning hours witnessed an even more shameful piece of tax legislation rammed through the Senate. One does not have to be an avid follower of politics to understand just how far from their roots the Republicans have strayed with this bill.
The party of fiscal restraint, the party whose laments about the ever-burgeoning federal deficit and ballooning national debt have been a nonstop mantra everyone has listened to for decades, has abandoned all pretense of caring about these issues or about any Americans except those in income brackets capable of funding their campaigns.
The proof that this Republican-led Congress is inordinately beholden to the rich is written throughout this tax bill. From the beginning it was cloaked in secrecy and opacity. Thrown together in just a few weeks, it quickly burgeoned into a behemoth.
Coming in at 515 pages, the text of the bill was finally published Nov. 21 by the chair of the Senate Finance Committee. The committee voted to move on it exactly one week later, Nov. 28.  On Dec. 1, after frantic bargaining and last-minute scurrying for votes, the final version, shortened by a mere 18 pages, was passed with critically important amendments handwritten in the margins and strikeouts throughout this now-official document.
Can anyone seriously believe this bill was thoroughly scrutinized and vetted? Contrast what happened in 2017 with what took place in 1986, the last time the Republicans went to the mat for comprehensive tax reform. Back then, they spent six months carefully crafting legislation. They held numerous public hearings, looking to cut taxes but not wanting to overly burden the federal deficit. And finally — wait for it — they passed their bill with bipartisan support in a Congress controlled by Democrats.
But not so much today with bipartisanship. Today, it is about Republicans delivering on promises made to their high-dollar donors and handing this ineffective president something resembling a legislative accomplishment. Today it is about throwing out long-held principles and bestowing government gifts on those who need them the least. And today, it is about adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit.
And that’s just for starters. The economic forecasts underpinning this bill are even more fanciful than the trickle-down theory of Reaganomics and have even less empirical evidence to support them.  Wishful thinking and alternative facts aside, when the real cost of this tax gift to the affluent becomes apparent, no amount of fantasy will make the numbers go away. There is every reason to believe that the deficit will grow by more than $1.5 trillion. And when the economy does not perform per the rosy forecasts of Mnuchin and Cohn, the general welfare of the American people will suffer.
Cuts will be made to Medicare and Social Security, and funding will wither for our public schools, lands and infrastructure. Make no mistake, this is exactly how these so-called leaders of Congress are planning to pay for the generous tax cuts they’ve gifted the wealthy this holiday season. But the true tragedy here is that absolutely no promises were extracted from the nation’s businesses that they would use these tax breaks to create new jobs or invest in capital projects. This is a bill that some of the most successful companies in America — Black Rock Financial, Starbucks, Vanguard, Berkshire Hathaway — have publicly opposed. They know that many of this country’s wealthiest corporations and companies are currently sitting on piles of cash, much of it in offshore banks.
Many of the chief executives of these financially flush firms have already stated that they have no intention of hiring additional personnel or investing in substantive improvements to their plants or equipment. Many, such as Amgen Inc. CEO Robert Bradway, have already made it clear that gains from these tax breaks will be returned to shareholders or be used for buybacks of company stock. CEOs from Coca-Cola and Cisco have made similar statements.
Finally, here are a couple of dirty secrets buried in those 497 pages and in the handwritten notes scribbled in the margins: All tax cuts come to a screeching halt in 2025, eight years from now.
Sorry, did I say all? I meant tax cuts end only for individuals. Then they revert to today’s rates. And the formula for figuring out which tax bracket you’re in?
 
See the full article, including the Counterpoint from former Moore County Republican Party Chair John Rowerdink HERE.

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What happened when North Carolina cut taxes like the GOP plans to for the country

From

BURLINGTON, N.C. — For a peek into a world after a massive tax cut, visit North Carolina and ride along with factory owner Eric Henry.

Conservative groups have hailed North Carolina as a model of a tax overhaul since it began slashing state corporate and individual tax rates four years ago. And one of the effort’s main architects, Thom Tillis, is now in the U.S. Senate, where early Saturday he joined 50 other Republican senators in voting for a $1.5 trillion federal tax overhaul — a plan that employs many of the same tactics already in use here.

But as Henry drove through the conservative, rural county he’s called home all his life, he had trouble seeing many benefits of the tax cut. Business was good, but it wasn’t good enough that he could give his 20 workers significant raises.

And there were growing worries that the lost tax revenue — estimated at $3.5 billion this year alone — was beginning to significantly hurt core public services such as schools.

GOP ‘optimistic’ as tax bill heads to conference, despite deficit analysis

GOP senators brushed off concerns about the tax bill’s impact on the national debt and discussed the corporate tax rate on Dec. 3, as it heads to conference. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

“I don’t know the people who this benefits,” Henry said of the North Carolina tax cut.

Changing the national tax code is much different from changing a state’s code. But what’s happening today in North Carolina offers potential clues about the grand experiment with tax cuts the entire nation is close to embarking on, with Republicans appearing confident they can send final legislation to President Trump by year’s end.

The tax changes in North Carolina haven’t produced the fiscal calamity that led Republican legislators in Kansas this year to reverse dramatic cuts they passed a few years earlier, but nor have they produced the kind of win-for-all economic prosperity national Republicans say their effort will spur.

Instead, North Carolina has enjoyed the same steady growth as much of the country, making it challenging to estimate the impact of the tax cut compared with the many other factors shaping the state’s economy.

“There’s nothing magical that has happened in North Carolina,” said John Quinterno, an economic analyst at the Chapel Hill-based research group South by North Strategies.

Henry, 60, runs a T-shirt manufacturer called TS Designs, which sources all its material locally. His company almost went belly up in the mid-1990s when free-trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement opened the borders to cheap foreign textiles. Henry knew he couldn’t compete on price. So he rebuilt his business around selling a higher-quality, locally made product instead.

He’s been doing well in recent years. This summer, the company notched its best production month ever, allowing Henry to pay a bonus to his workers. He says the nation’s overall strong economy is what benefits him.

Henry was driving one day late last week to give a talk at nearby Elon University. It was on campus that Henry ran into Jason Cox, 37, who owns several Jimmy John’s franchises and commercial real estate projects. Henry asked Cox whether he’d seen a benefit from the tax cuts.

“Not really,” Cox replied.

Cox said the cost of health insurance and regulations loom much larger for him than taxes. Taxes, he said, enjoy “an over-exaggerated role in our decision-making.”

State cuts — and a warning

Taxes have long been targeted by many conservatives as obstacles to economic growth.

In 2013, the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina started rolling back taxes. The then-governor labeled it the “Carolina Comeback” and sold the plan as a way to energize a state economy growing sluggishly after the Great Recession.

The corporate rate dropped in steps from 6.9 percent to just 3 percent this year, the lowest in the nation among states that have such a tax. The rate is set to fall to 2.5 percent in two years.

Personal income tax went from a progressive rate that topped out at 7.75 percent to a flat 5.75 percent. This year, it fell again to 5.49 percent.

The state also abolished its estate tax and expanded the sales tax to include more services, such as ticket sales and auto repairs.

“I think North Carolina is an example of successful tax reform,” said Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst at the right-leaning Tax Foundation.

He praised the state for not only lowering rates but eliminating preferential rates for certain industries, creating a more neutral tax code.

Supporters boast that just last month, North Carolina was named No. 1 on Forbes’s annual list of the most business-friendly states. That was a first, although it was just a moderate improvement from earlier years, when it has finished in the top five.

“Generally, it’s part of what’s helped our economy to bounce back,” Lew Ebert, president of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, said of the new tax structure.

North Carolina’s recent history as a tax-cutting state is much less known — and much less turbulent — than Kansas’s.

A year before North Carolina launched its overhaul, Kansas’s Republican-dominated legislature cut rates, with Gov. Sam Brownback (R) predicting an “adrenaline shot” of economic growth. He openly described it as an experiment on the pro-growth strategies touted by conservative think tanks and politicians.  Read more …

 

* * *

 

 The NC Democratic Party is all about DREAMers!

On Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump administration, led by Attorney General Jeff Session, announced that in six months the Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  President Obama’s 2012 program allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to be protected from deportation, while also allowing them to work legally, obtain a driver’s license, pursue an education, and contribute to our society.

Following are the talking points which the NCDP recommends we use in defending DACA:

• The president has cruelly decided he wants to remove from our country nearly 800,000 people who want nothing more than a better life and to contribute to our country.
• Trump and Republicans own this. They are forcing almost one million people back into the shadows. These people are our coworkers, our classmates, and our neighbors. This action will only tear families apart and make our communities less safe.
• If Congress does not act immediately, Trump will have dealt a devastating blow to our economy and our national security by heartlessly targeting immigrants who were brought to the U.S. when they were just children.
• Protecting the DREAMers is the smart thing to do for our economy, and it’s the right thing to do for nearly 800,000 of them who live, study, and work here.
– More than 27,000 North Carolinians contribute more than $1 billion to our economy. It’s shameful, and hurts our state’s economy,        to push them back into the shadows.
• It’s time for Congressional Republicans to put politics aside and give DREAMers the opportunity to continue chasing the American dream.
– They represent our country’s future and are already making invaluable contributions to our economy.
– Nearly two-thirds of Americans support protecting DACA and allowing DREAMers to continue going to school, creating businesses, and contributing to our society.
• Democrats believe our diversity is our greatest strength.  We will always fight for hardworking families and a smart, sensible immigration system.

Click on the link at the top of this page to view contact information for our elected representatives in Washington.

Take a moment to let them know where Democrats, and 80% of Americans, stand! 

 

 

 

 

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Moore County Economic Snapshot


The economic picture of counties throughout North Carolina is clearer today with the release of the county-by-county snapshots by the NC Justice Center.  It’s more apparent than ever that the economic reality for North Carolinians varies greatly depending on where you live and work; where you live can affect your ability to get ahead.

Click here to learn more…

 

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