June 2, 2016

Ronald Reagan wasn’t the only president who pushed tax relief as a way to revive the economy and boost revenues. John F. Kennedy said this in a 1963 defense of his proposed tax cut:

“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

Conservative reformers in Raleigh have spent the past few years proving JFK right. Yet when State Senate leaders released a budget Tuesday night that cuts taxes AND invests in schools and savings, the liberal malcontents and media on Jones Street seemed perplexed.

Consider some of the reforms in the Senate budget:

– A big middle-class tax cut that makes the first $17,500 of a family’s income tax-free. It’s saves about $145 million, or $300 per year for an average-income family.

– A quantum leap in NC teacher pay that will bring the average teacher salary in North Carolina to nearly $55,000, the highest in the southeast.

– More than half a billion going into a savings reserve fund for a rainy day, so North Carolina isn’t faced with a massive structural budget deficit like the $2.5 billion hole the Democrat-controlled legislature left in 2011.

– Investment in 20,000 new opportunity scholarships that will give children a shot at a quality education.

– New resources for road projects and infrastructure improvements.

– Affordable tuition rates at some NC colleges and universities.

– Funds for disaster relief and better service at the DMV.

No tax increases. Limited spending. Oh, and a $300 million Medicaid surplus.

The status-quo crowd has been telling us for years that the only way to improve schools and grow the economy is to raise taxes and inflate spending. They said tax relief would starve services and crush classrooms.

Then a bunch of reformers came along and cut taxes by roughly $3 billion a year. The economy soared. Revenues jumped. And now budget surpluses are funding massive teacher pay raises, allowing the state to save for a rainy day, and generating even more tax relief for small businesses and working taxpayers.

The malcontents are in disbelief. They should have listened to Jack Kennedy.