As anticipated, North Carolina’s 2017 legislative session began with Gov. Roy Cooper butting heads with the Legislature. The key issues? Taxes and education.
The year already began with several tax changes, including a corporate tax rate cut (from 4 percent to 3 percent) and a personal income tax decrease (from 5.75 percent to just under 5.5 percent). However, Gov. Cooper has cautioned against further efforts in this vein. Investing in education is at the top of his priority list, The News & Observer reported, which includes higher pay for teachers and principals and restoring a college scholarship program for prospective teachers. The state had something similar in the N.C. Teaching Fellows program, but the Legislature ended it in 2011. Legislators, however, are pushing back, noting how the state’s tax policies have benefited the state. For example, one popular business, Duck Donuts, recently cited the state’s tax rates—as well as the streamlined process for licensing—as one of the reason they are able to expand.
North Carolina was also ranked as the second-best business climate in 2016 by Site Selection and Forbes and received a handful of other top accolades for its low tax burden, low unionization rate, workforce development, and metro growth rate.