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Morning Memo: Stormy end to contentious week

It should be a quiet day with no legislative committee meetings and no floor sessions.

TGIF and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo for a look back at a contentious week and preview of what's ahead.

EVERYBODY JUST NEEDS TO CHILL: The storms that came through Raleigh late afternoon seemed a fitting end to a obstreperous week on Jones Street that was punctuated with arrests and ended with Sen. Bob Rucho, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, trying to resign his post because Senate President Phil Berger didn't take his side in the great tax debate. His resignation letter questioned the backbone of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Tillis. Berger sent his own letter, refusing the resignation. Dome suggests they all go out on a man date, watch a game, grab a beer, do that punch-the-shoulder thing guys do and then get back to taking care of the people's business.

Morning Memo: Guns and money top legislative agenda

This post has been corrected to reflect Gov. Pat McCrory's activities today.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House lawmakers are expected to give final approval to their $20.6 billion budget. The debate starts at 9 a.m. Today's ground rules: no amendments, unlimited debate. Wednesday saw 27 amendments, 16 of which passed. Full story.

TIMEOUT: If the debate stretches into the afternoon, House Speaker Thom Tillis will have his eye on the clock. He's scheduled a 3 p.m. conference call with supporters/potential donors to discuss his campaign for the U.S. Senate. According to the email invite:

The U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina will be one of the top three races in the country as identified by the NRSC. It will be one of the best chances of picking up a seat on our way to taking back control of the U.S. Senate. Please consider hosting an event or contributing to Thom’s race so that we can continue to stay on the offensive!

The email touts Tillis' accomplishments, including being named "National Legislator of the Year by the American Legislative Exchange Council."

Welcome to Dome's Morning Memo, a quick look at the day ahead and a wrap-up of Wednesday's goings on.

AFP ad touts 'new day' of GOP leadership, tax efforts

Americans for Prosperity launched the first phase of its campaign to support Republican lawmakers efforts to rewrite the state's tax code. In a new TV ad, it describes "a new day " in North Carolina politics, urging viewers to "encourage our new leaders to keep going" and sign a petition supporting a tax overhaul.

Dallas Woodhouse, the AFP state director, declined to provide additional details on the TV buy for the ad, titled "Back in the Game." But he said it is appearing on cable channels across the state and some broadcast channels. AFP has promised to put $500,000 into supporting the plan -- and public polling and anecdotal interviews suggest a skeptical public needs a good bit of convincing.

McCrory said everything is still on table on tax overhaul

Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he was weighing four or five tax overhaul plans but had not made a decision in which one to support.

“I will be playing a major role as chief executive in determining which tax reform model we will go after,” McCrory told a town hall meeting of the N.C. League of Municipalities.

He said it important that North Carolina be competitive in its taxes compared to surrounding states.

Later he told reporters, “we are looking at many different plans at this point in time. There are so many variables at this point, I am not at the point ready to make that decision.''

Liberal group releases report showing GOP tax plan benefits wealthy the most

The tax plan being considered by Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly is the most generous to the wealthiest North Carolinians while raising taxes on middle-income households, according to a new report from the N.C. Budget & Tax Center, an arm of the liberal N.C. Justice Center.

The center's report is designed to counter a study by Arthur Laffer and the conservative Civitas Institute that the GOP lawmakers are using as a blueprint for an overhaul of the state's tax code that includes a proposal to eliminate the personal and corporate income taxes.

"Carolinians while raising taxes on middle-income households," according to a summary of the center's report. "If implemented, a family earning $24,000 a year would see its taxes rise by $500 under the new tax plan, while one earning $1 million would get a $41,000 break. The wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers will receive a significant tax cut – a cut paid for by shifting the tax load to 60 percent of the state’s taxpayers, primarily middle class and low-income households."

Titled "A 'Laffable' Plan for Tax Reform," find it here.

Morning Memo: Tax plan details emerge, N.C. sheriff won't enforce gun orders

TODAY'S BIG STORY: Republican lawmakers outlined a proposal Wednesday to revamp the state’s tax system, offering a slew of reforms that would radically shift the tax burden in North Carolina. The proposal would eliminate personal and corporate income taxes in exchange for higher state sales taxes levied against groceries, medical expenses and other currently tax-free services.

SUPPORTERS SAY: Senate leader Phil Berger said the moves are necessary to modernize the state’s tax code and kick-start a struggling economy. He pointed to the state’s tax rates, saying the current 6.9 percent corporate tax rate and 7.75 percent personal tax rate for the highest earners are among the highest the region. “It is important for us in terms of our competitive posture with other states,” the Republican from Eden told reporters. “It is important for us in terms of making sure there is a fair allocation of the cost of government.”

CRITICS SAY: Critics caution that the proposals represent a fundamental change in who pays the state’s tax burden, and economists said that low-income people would feel the brunt. “For this particular proposal, the responsibility would shift from rich households and prosperous corporations to poor households and smaller businesses,” Dave Ribar, a professor at UNC-Greensboro, concluded in his analysis of the proposal.

***You are reading the Dome Morning Memo, the source for all his North Carolina politics. Much more below.***

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