Next spring when a single mother in Newton takes her old car in for an oil change, she will be in for quite a surprise. It is going to cost her 6.75 percent more thanks to the budget passed by the House and Senate and endorsed by Gov. Pat McCrory that for the first time imposes a sales tax on car repairs and services.
If she returns home to find that her washing machine isn’t working, it’s going to cost her more to have it fixed. The budget applies the sales tax to appliance repairs, too.
If she somehow scrapes the money together to buy a new washer instead, she better pick it up herself as it will cost her more to have it delivered. The budget adds the sales tax to deliveries.
And she may also be surprised to learn that none of the extra money she will have to pay to fix her car or washing machine will stay in her county to help her daughter’s school or improve the local roads.
Instead, it will go to another county as part of a scheme inserted into the final budget agreement that expands the sales tax to a host of commonly used services with the proceeds directed to a special fund that benefits 79 counties, while 21 mostly urban and tourist counties receive nothing.
So not only will folks in Newton in Catawba County pay higher taxes and see none of the benefits, so will folks in places like Brunswick County and Cabarrus County as well as Durham and Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
Everyone in the state will pay more the next time they have their shoes resoled or their flat tire fixed. And the majority of the people who pay the extra tax will not see it go to improve their local communities.
And guess what these 21 counties having their tax money taken all have in common? If you said "A significantly higher percentage of black and Hispanic residents and college students" then you win!
So yes, it's literally tax money taken from the poorest people in my home state's largest Democratic stronghold cities to give to whiter, more Republican counties by state law, all for the purpose of giving the wealthiest one percent in North Carolina a huge income tax cut.
This is what Republicans do, folks. And the people back home keep voting for them.