UPDATED: The complex effort to overhaul the state’s tax system became more complicated Thursday as three competing bills were presented to lawmakers entering the final month of the legislative session.
Senate Republicans, led by President Pro Tem Phil Berger, are offering the most ambitious legislation to expand the sales tax to more than 100 services, food and prescription drugs, in exchange for cutting personal income taxes from the highest rate of 7.75 percent to 4.5 percent. It represents an overall tax cut, phased in over the course of three years, potentially reducing state spending by more than $1 billion over three years.
But Senate Bill 677 is facing considerable opposition from special interests concerned about how it eliminates all existing tax breaks and from outside organizations who point to analyses showing that it would likely raise taxes on a majority of people in the long run.
In presenting his bill to a Senate panel, Sen. Bob Rucho, a Charlotte Republican, didn’t mention any tax rates – instead spending about 10 minutes lashing out at lobbyists who packed the committee room.