Establishing a Taxpayer Bill of Rights

The Senate Finance Committee has passed a bill that would give North Carolina voters the opportunity to add strong protections against over-taxation and wasteful government spending to our state constitution.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights would allow voters to consider three proposed constitutional amendments on the presidential primary ballot in March 2016 – including an amendment reducing the maximum income tax rate allowed in that document from ten percent to five percent of income.

Our constitution has set the maximum income tax rate at ten percent for decades. But after our nationally-recognized efforts to reform and lower our tax rates paid off with a $445 million surplus this year, the need is clear to provide voters the opportunity to affirm those reforms. And lowering the maximum income tax rate to five percent will provide taxpayers with constitutional certainty that politicians will not be able to return to the tax-and-spend ways that left us with the Southeast’s highest taxes and multi-billion dollar deficits.

Voters would also consider a measure creating a responsible limit on the growth of state government spending by tying it to changes in population and inflation – which could only be exceeded with a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly – along with an amendment establishing a constitutionally-protected ‘Rainy Day’ fund that could only be used for true financial emergencies, like natural disasters.

We all know that government, just like families, ought to spend responsibly and save for hard times and unforeseen circumstances. But too many politicians have a hard time doing those things with taxpayer money. That’s why the Senate is proposing to give voters the chance to place these important protections in our state’s highest law.