Yesterday Stephen Moore posted an article at the Wall Street Journal about what has happened in North Carolina since 2013.
The article reports:
Four years ago North Carolina’s unemployment rate was above 10% and the state still bore the effects of its battering in the recession. Many rural towns faced jobless rates of more than 20%. But in 2013 a combination of the biggest tax-rate reductions in the state’s history and a gutsy but controversial unemployment-insurance reform supercharged the state’s economy and has even helped finance budget surpluses.
As Wells Fargo ’s Economics Group recently put it: “North Carolina’s economy has shifted into high gear. Hiring has picked up across nearly every industry.”
The tax cut slashed the state’s top personal income-tax rate to 5.75%, near the regional average, from 7.75%, which had been the highest in the South. The corporate tax rate was cut to 5% from 6.9%. The estate tax was eliminated.
So what happened next? Did the state go bankrupt? Is everyone in the state walking around in rags wondering where their next meal is coming from? Not hardly. On May 6, Gov. McCrory announced that the state has a budget surplus of $400 million.
The article explains:
This is the opposite of what has happened in Kansas, where jobs have been created but revenues have fallen since the top personal income-tax rate was cut from 6.45% in 2012 to 4.6% today and the income tax for small business owners who file as individuals has been eliminated. North Carolina’s former budget director, Art Pope, says one difference between the two states is that “we cut spending too. Kansas didn’t.”
…You won’t hear much about this in national news media, where the preferred story line is that tax cuts don’t work because they were followed by budget deficits in Kansas. In North Carolina, policies to reduce taxes and stop paying people for not working have created jobs and surpluses. Mr. Pope says: “I wish people criticizing Kansas would look at what’s happened here.”
Unfortunately the State of North Carolina has not cut spending as much as some of us would like to see it cut, but we have made progress in the right direction.
For any of you who are still skeptical, this is a picture of the Laffer Curve:
The bottom line here is very simple–after a certain point, raising taxes is counter productive and will not produce revenue. The best way to increase revenue is to decrease taxes, which stimulates economic activity. As economic activity increases, tax revenue generated as a result of that activity increases. North Carolina has learned that lesson. However, it also helps to reduce government spending–every dollar spent by the government is a dollar taken out of the private sector.