RALEIGH - Last Thursday the NC House approved SB116 which will eliminate the $300 per week supplement to NC's unemployment insurance compensation. We have many busineeses across the state that are still having trouble staying open. It's not because they don't have customers, or even because of COVID-19 restrictions. It's simply because they can not hire enough staff to operate their businesses. Why bother working a lower wage job when you can collect almost as much by sitting at home? If one is motivated enough they can supplement that income with some part-time "under the table" work.
North Carolina Republicans are right to be concerned, and are right to want to get North Carolina back to work. The problem is that their solution also includes writing $1500 bonus checks to those on unemployment to actually get off their "duff" and get back to work. In essence, NC Republicans want to bribe people to go back to work with your tax dollars. That seems hardly fair, esecially for those of us who have chosen to work throughout the entire pandemic. I don't blame NC Republicans for this problem. It was Cooper who shuttered businesses and caused the initial unemployment in the first place. It was Trump and the US Congress that passed the 2020 CARES Act that authorized these additional unemployment benefits that deincentivize work.
So it was right and proper for the NC General Assembly to take this serious issue on. But the fact is that there is a much simpler solution - eliminate the NC state income tax!! While I wold be all for a permanent revocation of the NC state income tax, even a one ot two year "tax holiday" would be incentive enough to get people back to work. All of the hard working people of this state would benefit from such a financial policy, both the ranks of the currently unemployed and those who worked throughout the pandemic and continue to do so. It would be more money in everyone's pockets! Even someone who truly can't find a job that pays as much as their pre-pandemic one, could likely take a lower hourly wage and still end up with a comparable net paycheck.
You might be wondering why such an easy solution wasn't adopted at the start of the pandemic, or at least easily passed now. The answer is simple, but sad. The purveyors of big government within all the political parties love to take our money in taxes, and then turn around and give a small fraction of it back to us in stimulus, unemployment, work bonus, and welfare checks. Instead of truly incentivizing work by letting us keep more of what we make, they would rather take a lot of it now and then be seen as benevolent when they give us a few scraps of it back later. That keeps them in power of the purse strings, and makes us dependent on them.
Principled fiscal conservatives should strive for smaller government and much lower taxes. It's a crying shame we don't have too many of them at the North Carolina General Assembly.