Lawmakers Want To Raise Sales Tax, Lower Income Tax

6:57 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- State lawmakers are looking at the possibility of eliminating the state income tax in exchange for a higher state sales tax.

That means, you'd pay more for everything you buy.

In fact, the News & Observer in Raleigh, WRAL, and the Charlotte Observer have all reported we could see a sales tax as high as 8 percent on everything from cars to haircuts.

That would mean the 2-percent sales tax at the grocery store would quadruple.

Here's what it could mean for your budget.

The average family of four spends about $1,000 a month at the grocery store. They're paying around $20 a month in sales tax or $240 a year.

If the sales tax jumped to 8 percent, the same family would be paying $80 a month in taxes or $960 a year.

That's a $720 increase just for taxes on food, something families certainly can't go without.

Despite the news reports, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told WFMY News 2 there are no hard numbers yet on what the sales tax would be.

However, he said if there's any increase, your family's income tax would be lowered or eliminated.

"Lowering the rates would mean that hopefully, on the income tax, we see the rate go down from the highest in the southeast, to quite frankly, I'd like to see no income tax in North Carolina. Whether we can do that or not remains to be seen," said Berger.

WFMY News 2 also spoke with Senator Robert Rucho, chairman of the finance committee.

Rucho said the sales tax probably won't be as high as 8 percent, but more like 6 percent.

Berger said tax reform is crucial to attract businesses and new jobs to North Carolina.

Even so, some people we spoke with on Monday weren't wild about the idea.

"We're going to have to decide -- take milk or we're going to take a little bit of bread or meat or whatever important things," said Janett Maron.

"People can't afford what they already pay, not to mention more higher taxes," said Gloria McNeill.

The proposed sales tax increase wouldn't only apply for groceries. Lawmakers want a sales tax on all goods and services, everything from lottery tickets to doctor visits.

When we asked Berger how soon we could see changes, he said without a doubt this year.

The state legislature will be back in session on Wednesday. We could see some proposals as early as next month.

WFMY News 2

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