Continuing the Republican war on the poor and middle class, tax changes took effect in North Carolina this week which greatly favor big business while placing a greater tax burden on lower income residents. The changes will increase the cost of such necessities as school clothes and supplies and utility bills while lowering corporate taxes by 17 percent.
No longer will parents be afforded the opportunity to purchase school clothes and supplies during the back-to-school tax-free weekend; that tax holiday has been eliminated. While the elimination of sales tax may seem like an insignificant savings, for the family living paycheck to paycheck even the smallest savings are important.
Yer Lee, mother of five, helps to run her family’s flower stand in uptown Charlotte. Lee said that she had always taken advantage of the tax-free weekend to stock up on school supplies. This year she and other parents will no longer have that option.
“Usually I’m buying books, pencils, shoes and clothes for uniforms,” Lee told a reporter for WSOC-TV.
“It was beneficial for us because it kept a little bit more money in our pockets,” said Olsie Robinson, another resident.
Defenders of the changes claim that residents will actually benefit from the elimination of the tax-free weekend, saying that Concord Mills, a shopping mall in Concord, will be holding a “better than tax free” sale at the end of the month where some stores will by offering significant discounts on back to school supplies.
Utiltiy bills will also see increases with the replacement of the 4.7 percent excise tax on gas bills with a 7 percent sales tax adding about $2.50 to a $100 monthly bill.
A spokesman for Duke Energy said that the elimination of the gross receipts/franchise tax and the reduction of the corporate income tax by 17 percent would result in an increase of only 43 cents on the electric bill of the average customer using 1,000 kilowatts hours of power.
No one has yet come forward to explain why a 17 percent reduction in corporate tax rates does not translate into coresponding reductions to the customer’s bill.
Watch a report on the changes below.