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Brock-sponsored bill would put constitutional amendment before voters

The N.C. Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a measure that ask voters to decide on a constitutional amendment to cap the personal income tax rate at 5 percent, limit state government expenditures and create an emergency savings fund.

State. Sen. Andrew Brock, R-34, is one of three primary sponsors of the bill. Brock and Sen. Tom McInnis, R-25, voted for the bill as part of the final 31-14 count in favor. The bill — called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights or Taxpayer Protection Act – next heads to the N.C. House.

Final approval would come at the ballot box in December 2016, when voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment. It had previously been proposed for the 2016 presidential primary in March.

The version approved by senators on Wednesday ties state spending in the annual budget to inflation and population growth. Inflation would be determined by the consumer price index for all “urban consumers.” Energy and food would be excluded.

If the bill passes the House and is approved by voters, the General Assembly would appropriate 2 percent of the state’s expenditures to the proposed emergency savings fund each year. Deposits into the emergency fund would stop when it reaches 12.5 percent of the state’s capital and operating expenditures. Money could only be withdrawn from the emergency fund by a two-thirds vote of members in each body of the General Assembly.

A final measure contained in the bill limits income taxes to 5 percent. Personal exemptions would be allowed.

When it was first filed in March, the bill was significantly different. Upon filing, the bill required a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly for an income tax rate increase.

The bill assumed its current form on Aug. 6. On the Senate floor, some criticized the measure for moving to a final vote too quickly.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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