Progress North Carolina Action this week targeted Sen. Thom Goolsby in a public awareness campaign that criticizes the General Assembly, saying lawmakers created tax loopholes for millionaires and cut nearly $1 billion from public education at all levels during the last two years.
Business owners will get a tax break on the first $50,000 they earn, or about $3,500, said Goolsby, R-New Hanover. He added someone who earns $1 million would get the tax break too, but would still pay about $70,000 in taxes.
Progress North Carolina Action, a left-leaning policy advocacy group, questioned why lawmakers added no income cap.
“If you’re going to really target small businesses then wouldn’t you define the tax cuts so that only small businesses could qualify?” Gerrick Brenner, the group’s executive director, said Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Most of the money would go to business owners making $100,000 or less, Goolsby said, citing information from General Assembly staff.
“It’s going to go back into the economy and help us out in these tough economic times,” Goolsby said Monday, Oct. 1.
Brenner pointed to a 2011 report by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center that estimated about $923 million in total education funding cuts for the 2011-2012 fiscal year budget and about $926 million in cuts for 2012-2013. While more money was added for the 2012-2013 year, cuts for the previous year were nearly $1 billion, Brenner said.
State lawmakers have increased education spending, and student test scores and graduation rates have improved, Goolsby said.
North Carolina’s four-year high school graduation rate rose to 80.2 percent in 2012 from 77.9 percent in 2011, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.