It is difficult to argue, with a straight face and without crossing fingers behind your back, that the tax climate in North Carolina is not a stumbling block to economic improvement. As the election season flows with gathering speed towards its Nov. 6 conclusion in the General Election, that argument is heard more loudly, and with greater urgency, from candidates who champion more free market and less government hindrance (sometimes called government help by those on the left).
Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, for example, during his first debate with Democrat Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton last Wednesday, said “the best incentive for new jobs in North Carolina" is to avoid leading the pack in the Southeast with high sales, corporate and income taxes.
But the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization, just released its 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index, and it shows North Carolina isn't just shooting itself in the foot with tax policies that hamper its competitiveness, but anchors the state firmly in the Somber Seven at the bottom of the heap -- 44th worst of the 50 states. The state's ranking remained unchanged from the 2012 list.
North Carolina has managed to tumble well below every other state in the Southeast, and the authors of the study tell why that is a crucial, but alarming, development.