Local/State

Nonprofits want tax hike

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's hard to imagine a tougher sell in this economy, but a group of nearly a hundred North Carolina nonprofits want lawmakers to raise taxes instead of cutting their programs.

A coalition of nonprofits called Together NC held a rally outside the Legislature on Tuesday. Members range from the United Way to the AARP.

Click here for the full list

Together, they say countless North Carolinians will be crushed if more than 4 billion dollars are slashed to make up the state budget deficit.

"They're having short-term savings to a long-term problem," offered Chris O'Hanlon with the NC Independent Living Council.

O'Hanlon's group helps people with disabilities live on their own in the community. He says thousands will suffer if proposed cuts to Medicaid pass.

"People who are now living in the community would be forced into institutional care. And they will have no option. It will be 'You're going here or here'" he explained.

Groups advocating for everything from public school teachers to public safety, school kids to social workers were represented at Tuesday's rally.

"There is not one interest, one particular public service, one public investment that is not gonna take a huge hit if budget is passed way it is now," said Rob Thompson with Together NC.

Right now, the budget is all about cutting said Thompson.

"If we take a cuts-only approach to it, we're gonna have devastating effects to North Carolina's families and communities. We need to look at new revenues," he said.

New revenues meaning new taxes - Together NC suggests expanding the sales tax to services that aren't taxed. Landscaping was one example given.

It also suggests closing corporate tax loopholes and incentives, plus broadening the income tax base by creating new brackets.

It's a tough political sell, and opponents say now is the wrong time to talk tax hikes.

"We call it a recession for a reason. People don't have the money," said Dallas Woodhouse with Americans for Prosperity. "We need to cut our way out of it even though it will be difficult."

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