Many of us are familiar with the old riddle that asks “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “One bite at a time.” The prospect of tax reform must look like the proverbial elephant to the state legislature’s Republican leadership and they would be well served to take the “one bite at a time” approach.
Reform proposals have included the elimination of both personal and corporate income taxes, with the likely source of lost revenue being additional state taxes on services, medical expenses and groceries. Other plans include the elimination of certain tax deductions, a tax on all commercial and residential real estate sales or possibly the implementation of a so called “license fee” on businesses, indexed to either their net worth or gross receipts.
Although all of these ideas have some merit, it would be unrealistic to believe that this type of sweeping change could be brought about in one legislative session. In fact, Republican leaders are wisely tempering expectations by referring to these ideas as a “concept,” as opposed to a “plan.”
After waiting over 100 years to gain control of both chambers of the State Legislature, Republicans have shown admirable restraint by taking measured approaches to the problems they inherited. When it comes to North Carolina’s outdated tax structure, remembering the riddle about the symbol of their Party might be the best course of action when it is placed on the table. One bite at a time.
Doug Raymond owns and operates Campaign General, a political consulting company, and is a panelist on NC SPIN.