11/01/05 — Tax consequences: Keeping an eye on rates will brighten state’s future

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Tax consequences: Keeping an eye on rates will brighten state’s future

No one likes to pay taxes; and North Carolina residents are no exception.

The recent concern over the increase in local tax rates has left many Wayne County homeowners wondering how they are going to absorb the extra cost, and still pay their other bills.

Add to that concerns about what new taxes might come out of the Statehouse in Raleigh — and the threatened skyrocketing gasoline and natural gas prices — and many residents might find their budgets pulled just a little too tight for comfort.

So, thinking about tax relief is not something North Carolinians are unfamiliar with — and most wouldn’t object to a little reform in that area, either.

And they are not alone.

Those same reasons residents are concerned about their increasing personal tax debt are also on the minds of current state business owners and potential out-of-state investors.

If this state wants to continue to attract business and industry, someone has to keep track of what North Carolina is offering as compared with other states in the region and keep its tax rates for business and personal income competitive.

When deciding where to locate a new plant, or where to expand, businesses look for the best location for their bottom line and their employees. A state with a higher tax burden gets a pass in most cases, no matter how pretty the beaches and the hills are.

While we should not give away incentives to every business that expresses an interest in this state, North Carolina’s leaders need to pay close attention to who is getting new jobs and better opportunities for economic development and who isn’t.

And while we need to attract new investment, we need to do so wisely. Several hundred jobs are not worth millions or billions in tax credits without a guarantee of future investment. We need to hold business and industry accountable, too.

And, while we are at it, we must also keep in mind the businesses that are already here and have made a commitment to this state, in some cases for generations. They have proven that they are interested in the future of North Carolina, and should be rewarded for that loyalty.

North Carolina has a bright future, but only with the right amount of planning and an eye for the future, not the next election.

Published in Editorials on November 1, 2005 11:20 AM