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NC Senate Passes Taxpayer Bill Of Rights

North Carolina Legislative building

The North Carolina Senate passed what’s called a Taxpayers Bill of Rights Wednesday, despite the warnings of the state treasurer. 

The bill would put a referendum on next year’s presidential primary general election ballot. It would ask voters to amend the state constitution by adding a section to limit the growth of state spending to the rate of inflation and population growth, reduce the state’s maximum allowed income tax rate from ten to five percent, and require yearly deposits in an emergency savings fund that could only be tapped with a two-thirds vote in each house. 

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Brent Jackson of Sampson County, says the bill shows taxpayers the legislature is good stewards of public money.

But N.C. Treasurer Janet Cowell has been cautioning senators against it. She sent them a letter Friday saying it would endanger the state’s triple A bond rating. Losing that, would increase borrowing costs. 

“It would seem to me that we would be irresponsible to do something that potentially might have that effect,” said Senator Jane Smith, a Lumberton Democrat.

The bill passed 31-14. It now heads to the House where it will likely be more difficult to pass.