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This headline is off-message: “NC Republicans want tax hikes on food, services” (WRAL).
 
At a time when Washington Republicans are cementing reputations as anti-tax hardliners, how did Raleigh Republicans get plunged into this morass?
 
The answer: a member of their caucus, Senator Bob Rucho, dragged them to the cliff. Question: Will Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Tillis jump off it?
 
For the McCrory/Pope administration, it might be smarter politically to cut personal and corporate income taxes less drastically and cut spending, rather than make up the money. Then they can claim a victory for economic competitiveness, without the pain of raising taxes.
 
For Berger and Tillis in a Republican U.S. Senate primary, would cutting income taxes a lot make up for raising other taxes a lot?
 
How do all the big givers to their caucuses feel?
 
All this suggests a continuing Republican problem: how to handle extreme measures pushed by some of their members.
 
Witness: drivers’ licenses for immigrants. Lt. Governor Forest is dead-set against it. McCrory/Tata are debating it. Do they want to dig an even deeper hole with Hispanic voters?
 
And here’s tax footnote from a member of Governor Perdue’s administration.
 
“In 2011, shortly after the R's took control of the Legislature, Gov. Perdue submitted a budget that cut the corporate tax rate to the lowest in the South and kept part of the temporary sales tax in place to help fund education….Berger's response: Perdue wants to balance the budget ‘on the backs of North Carolina taxpayers and local governments.’ But now it's ok to balance the budget on the backs of those who struggle daily to buy food for their families, while giving the rich a huge tax break?”
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