This week, Carolina Journal’s Lindsay Marchello reported on General Assembly Republicans’ plans to refund part of this year’s state surplus. According to Marchello:
General Assembly leaders in a news conference announced a plan to return to taxpayers’ money from the $900-million surplus.
Income-tax payments and sales tax collections ran higher than expected. Lawmakers were tasked with deciding what to do with the windfall, with ideas such as putting the money in savings or refunding it to taxpayers.
House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, decided a refund was best.
“My experience is you spend the money better than the government does,” Moore said. “We propose to send that surplus back to the people who earned it.”
Moore and Berger said Wednesday, Aug. 21, that a bill will be introduced soon outlining the Taxpayer Refund Act, which would base refunds on how much filers paid in state taxes.
…Berger said the Senate Finance Committee will take up the measure Thursday and expected a floor vote early next week.
…North Carolina taxpayers could get a check from the state by late November.
Berger said individuals could see a maximum of $125, and couples could get as much as $250.
About $680 million will cover the refunds and the cost of sending checks. The rest of the surplus will go to the Rainy Day Fund. Berger and Moore said more than 5.1 million taxpayers will receive a refund, with more than 90% getting the maximum amount. Roughly 350,000 taxpayers would get back all the state income taxes they paid last year.
Marchello reports JLF’s Joseph Coletti believes the refund could grease the gears on budget negotiations. She quotes Coletti as stating:
“Offering a refund to taxpayers, which could be thought of as a dividend for their investment in state government, would accept the steadfast demands of House Democrats and Gov. Cooper for Medicaid expansion at face value,” Coletti said. “Maybe an offer to refund taxpayers is just the kick needed to get things going.”