by John Grooms
North Carolina government's money situation is so dismal, the state is quickly running out of money to do anything but pay bureaucrats wages and give breaks to coastal developers. Critical programs are being reduced or cut, schools are in desperate financial straits, and, yeah, you know the rest. Well, guess what? Multi-state corporations operating in North Carolina want to stick it to the state even more. Yep, poor little companies like GE and Time Warner say they need to be protected from those awful bullies who insist they pay state taxes like everybody else.
Raleighs News & Observer broke the news that state senators, and specifically Democratic leaders in the Senate, are working with business lobbyists to take away a big stick that the state's tax collector says it needs to punish big businesses that dodge their taxes. The Senates version of the budget, which is now in House-Senate negotiations, would keep the state revenue department from assessing a penalty on businesses the state says are hiding income even though North Carolina is facing an incredible $800 million shortfall. Without those penalties, the state budget would lose yet another $100 million.
Chuck Neely, a lobbyist for a group called Council on State Taxation, which represents multi-state corporations interests in Raleigh, says the state is unfairly categorizing legitimate business tax planning as deliberate tax dodges which, by the way, is a tried-and-true way companies have used to dodge paying taxes for as long as anyone can remember. As BlueNC points out, the Council includes GE, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Time-Warner Cable, Alcoa, Bancorp, Amazon, Microsoft, and other such warm and fuzzy corporate entities. Makes you wonder why these companies don't just line us all up and rob us at gunpoint; at least that way they wouldn't have to spend money for lobbyists.