Now and then something happens, or someone says something, that just leaves you shaking your head.
Last Thursday, in an editorial the News and Observer wrote the Republicans in the General Assembly had raised taxes on 80% of NC taxpayers: “Taxpayers making under ($67,000), which is around 80 percent of taxpayers in North Carolina, will, on average, see their taxes increase under the tax plan.”
Then, in the next paragraph, the editorial stated, “And while most people are paying more, Republican tax changes will cost the state more than $5 billion over the first five years as the tax burden is reduced for the top 20 percent of taxpayers.”
That left me scratching my head.
Republicans had cut taxes $5 billion but raised taxes on 80% of the people.
I guess – like alchemy – it is theoretically possible.
But after surviving a regimen of calculus and differential equations at N.C. State, I couldn’t see how, practically, it could ever happen.
How could Republicans cut sales taxes on everyone, cut income taxes, cut corporate taxes, close tax loopholes and cut taxes a total of $5 billion – and, somehow, at the same time, raise taxes on 80% of the people?
Well, I went to digging and found out politics was the root of the problem.
The News and Observer’s editors had repeated a charge made by Harry Reid’s Super-PAC against Thom Tillis last year in the Senate race.
Back then, when the Washington Post fact-checked Reid’s ad, it wrote, “On its face, it is pretty absurd to think that a tax reform bill that cut rates and eliminated loopholes ended up raising taxes on 80% of the people in the state.”
The Post gave Reid’s ad “Three Pinocchio’s.”
Factcheck.org agreed with the Post, reporting Reid’s claim “that Tillis ‘passed a whopping tax increase that hit 80% of North Carolinians’ – is wrong.”
And WRAL-TV News reported, “At the end of the day, the 80% claim is simply not right. We give this ad, and any other that repeats this claim, a red light.”
This time it’s the News and Observer’s editorial that gets the Three Pinocchio’s.