Political notebook: Hudson and Budd say tax cuts were never meant to go away

Published 12:10 am Monday, February 26, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December created what many referred to as historic tax cuts for both individuals and businesses.

On its surface, the bill appears to favor businesses, instituting a flat tax rate of 21 percent for C corporations with no expiration date. Individual tax rate changes included downward shifts of zero to three percent, with the decrease expiring in ten years.

At a recent visit to New Sarum Brewing Co., local Reps. Ted Budd, R-13, and Richard Hudson, R-08, said that legislators would soon be working to eliminate these expiration dates.

“Around April 15, you’re going to see legislation to make that permanent,” said Hudson. “… We had to operate in the rules of the Senate at the time. No one wants to see those expire.”

Budd agreed.

“It was a tool,” said Budd. “… I don’t like that time limit. I don’t think anybody did, but to get it to pass the Senate, that’s what we had to do.”

Budd and Hudson visited New Sarum to champion the tax cuts benefits to local, small businesses. As a brewery, the company saw an added benefit besides tax structure.

The tax bill significantly lowered the federal excise tax for breweries making less than 2 million barrels per year. Now, for the first 60,000 barrels, craft breweries will pay $3.50 per barrel instead of $7, a 50 percent rate reduction.

“Some estimates say (this) could create an additional $320 million in growth for the industry,” said Tatum Gibson, communications director for Hudson’s Washington office. “This is a huge tax cut for our local small brewers.”

For individuals, Hudson said not to worry. He cited tax cuts from the era of George W. Bush’s presidency, which were also set to sunset. Some 96 percent of these, he said, were extended by President Barack Obama in January of 2013.

“The intent was never for them to go away,” said Hudson.

The task now is to prove that the cuts are creating enough economic impact to offset their potential $1.5 trillion deficit, said the congressmen. Both said this offset is well underway, with Hudson citing the growth of 400 companies nationwide.

To see continued growth in domestic business and product, Budd said the next task is to improve workforce quality to meet a growing demand.

“The next major challenge is this skills gap,” he said. “I hear from all these employers that … we’ve got six and a half million unfilled jobs. That means companies … are looking for good people. You’ve got six and a half million people that are out of the workforce and disengaged, how do we get them off the sidelines and into the workforce? That’s the next big challenge, but we’re up for the task.”

State Rep. Harry Warren appointed to the House Select Committee on School Safety

On Tuesday, North Carolina General Assembly House Speaker Tim Moore announced he would form a new school safety committee.

The committee, called the House Select Committee on School Safety, will be tasked with developing recommendations to improve security in schools throughout the state.

Of the committee’s 45 members, thirty are Republican and fifteen are Democrats. One member, Rep. Harry Warren, currently represents Rowan County in House District 77.

Warren was elected in 2010, defeating Democratic incumbent Lorene T. Coates. Since that time, he co-sponsored legislation requiring firearms dealers to make records available upon request to all state and local law enforcement agencies.

He also voted in July 2013 to amend certain gun laws, including:

  • Requiring clerks of a superior court to submit records of findings that would lead to permit rejection to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System within 48 hours
  • Requiring sheriffs to revoke a permit of any individual who is found guilty of a crime which would have disqualified the individual from initially receiving a permit, and
  • Increasing the prison term limits of individuals convicted of a crime involving the use of a firearm.