Sunday, June 2, 2013

NC middle-class tax hikes to inspire 5th 'Moral Monday' protests

The fifth Moral Monday protest in North Carolina tomorrow is likely to be the biggest ever. Three new bills that raise taxes on working families and lower them for wealthy businesses are fueling the growing protest movement.

The tax proposals were unveiled by North Carolina lawmakers this week. They continue the Republican-controlled legislature's assault on working class North Carolinians.

North Carolina citizens are resisting the attack with "Moral Monday" protests at the Statehouse. The protests resulted in 153 arrests since they began in April. According to the state AFL-CIO,
People who attend Moral Mondays are North Carolina citizens and residents – doctors, teachers, pastors, students, workers – who are fed up by extremist laws – some pending and other passed -- to restrict voting, to reject Medicaid expansion, to reduce unemployment benefits, to run roughshod over local governments, and to lower taxes on the rich by raising them on the rest -- among others – and who have determined not to let North Carolina's slide backward go unnoticed and unreported.
The latest tax bills show elected officials are ignoring the protest.

Two of the bills, HB 998 and SB 394, would cost North Carolina about $1.2 billion over the next five years. They tax some services that are now exempt. Meanwhile, SB 677 would add more than 130 new taxes, including on groceries, prescription drugs and Social Security benefits.

Think Progress notes that the measures, especially SB 677, seek to shift much of the state's tax burden away from the rich and most profitable companies onto low- and middle-class families:
After initially proposing to eliminate the state’s income tax outright, Republicans are instead introducing a flat income tax rate across all earning levels. The proposal unveiled Thursday would also expand the reach of sales taxes in the state, which hits low-income families hardest, and comes on top of the March repeal of a tax credit for 900,000 working families in the state.
The tax rewrite comes directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the escort service matching state lawmakers with corporations. Art Pope, the greedy billionaire who serves as North Carolina's state budget director, is a a close ally of the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers who help bankroll ALEC.

ALEC is taking its corporate agenda across the country, backing legislation that not only would reduce taxes for elites, but would kill unions and hamper whistleblowers reporting unsafe working conditions. It seeks to enrich big business at the expense of regular Americans.

Please North Carolina, let your state representatives and Gov. Pat McCrory know that you won't stand for ALEC's agenda. Tell them you oppose HB 998, SB 394 and SB 677 and that peoples' interests should be put before corporate ones.