Friday, May 29, 2009

Dear North Carolina legislator(s)

I am on the Americans for Prosperity newsletter list. If you do not know who they are, I encourage you to read about them asap. Being behind on my email as I am, I've only been scanning the subject lines the past couple of weeks, to only notice there was another TEA party coming up. I had assumed they were getting organized for the July 4th party, but double checking since dad and I were talking about it today, I just looked it up and am glad I did! There's another party in Raleigh next week (June 3rd)!

and Joe the Plumber is gonna be there! Wooo-Hoooo!!

I love grassroots organizers and my goal is to become more involved in local type grassroots efforts that impacts my own community- not just looking at the national stage. Yes, what happens in Washington effects us, but the local politics effects us even more. Did you know every week commissioners meet to discuss the spending of our tax dollars, the pubic is welcome, and once a month, each citizen gets three minutes to address the county commissioners? I didn't until the Tax Day TEA party (2)!
Americans for Prosperity has a form on their website where you can compile a letter for an email, or for print to be mailed, and you can choose from their snippets how long or short your letter is. Seeing I'm not very brilliant with words, I appreciate this as it does get my thoughts across.

The following is what can be sent through Americans for Prosperity, and boy, is it an eye opener or what?!

This is not the time to raise taxes in anyway.

I understand it is hard to write a budget this year because the state is not collecting the taxes it expected. Please do not make it easier on yourself by passing a spend-and-tax budget that makes it harder for my family to make ends meet. Higher taxes would slow our economic recovery and cause more hardships for the 11 percent of people without a job.

In 1991 and 2001, your colleagues and predecessors raised taxes to pay for spending programs taxpayers could no longer afford. As a result, North Carolina now has the twentieth highest tax burden in the country, and one of the highest in the South. We have one of the highest income tax rates in the country, and it starts at a lower level of income than most states. We also have the highest corporate income tax rate in the Southeast.

The spending and tax plans presented by Gov. Perdue and Senate Democrats would repeat the pattern with up to $1 per pack more for cigarettes, a 280 percent increase in taxes on other kinds of tobacco, higher taxes on beer and alcohol, higher and more complicated income taxes, higher taxes for businesses, and a new six-percent sales tax on everything I do online, plus home repairs, car repairs, extended warranties, or even a haircut.

For those of us who do not itemize deductions for our federal tax returns, we will now have to go through that effort for our state taxes so we can claim tax credits or end up paying more. Those of us who do itemize will have to do another round of calculations to determine our state tax credits in addition to our federal deductions. Isn�t the purpose of tax reform to make the process easier?

If I manage to make my mortgage payments to keep my house, even though my federal taxes also pay the mortgage for less responsible borrowers, my reward will be a new six percent tax to keep it in good shape.

If I manage to make my car payments, even though my federal taxes also pay for cars I will never see, my reward will be a new six percent tax to keep it running.

If I manage to find a new job in another part of the state, I will have to pay a new six percent tax on my moving expenses.

If I lose my job or health insurance or if my 401(k) has become a 201(k), my taxes still go to pay for the salaries, pensions, and health insurance of state employees who earn more in salary and benefits than people in the private sector.

The problem with the budget this year is not that tax revenues are down. The problem is that state spending has grown beyond the means of taxpayers. The General Fund budget grew 34 percent during Gov. Easley's second term while former Speaker Jim Black was taking money in IHOP bathrooms, and the former governor was flying and driving everywhere in free vehicles.

Adjusted for inflation, state spending has grown twice as fast as population over the last 25 years. Even after the fall in revenue, the state will collect more in the next fiscal year, again adjusted for population and inflation, than in any year before the dot-com bubble of 1999.

It must be difficult to consider cutting jobs, and not just reassigning state employees as the governor would have done. But too many programs in state government are ineffective or unproven. The more funding they receive, the less will be available for essential programs. Companies have had to shrink and lay off significant numbers of employees- even those that received bailouts.

I am not alone in my desire that you look for ways to save money and cut spending instead of raising taxes. Recent polls from the Civitas Institute show that 68 percent of people think cuts to existing programs are the best way to balance the budget. And 73 percent think lower taxes are a better way to stimulate the economy than higher government spending.


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