NC SENATE APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM FOR INCOME TAX CAP: Senate Bill 75 would ban lawmakers from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5 percent – if voters approve the constitutional amendment in a ballot referendum, which would be held during the November 2018 election. Currently, the constitution caps income tax rates at 10 percent. Lawmakers have set the personal income tax rate at 5.499 percent – so the amendment would prevent any future tax hikes. The Senate voted 36-13 Tuesday in favor of the bill, which now goes to the House. Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer of Cary broke ranks with her party and voted no, while Sen. Joel Ford of Charlotte and Sen. Ben Clark of Raeford were the only Democrats who supported the measure.
REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE REPLACEMENT PLAN WILL HIT OLDER RURAL CITIZENS THE HARDEST: Dr. Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said different age groups and income brackets will be affected differently. The demographic that will be hit hardest by this new plan, Oberlander said, are low-income people between ages 55 and 64 who live in rural areas. In Wayne County, the GOP's replacement could cost people $11,000 more per year: Tax Credit (subsidy) Under Obamacare in 2020: $15,210 –Tax Credit Under GOP Plan in 2020: $4,000. Oberlander said the reason rural areas are hit harder is because the tax credit under Obamacare is based on the cost of insurance in that area—the cost of insurance is typically higher in rural areas. Under the Republicans plan, though, the tax credit is based on one national rate, so it doesn't matter how much insurance costs where you live.
MSNBC SECURES COPY OF TRUMP'S 2005 TAX RETURNS: In 2005, the top tax rate for the richest Americans like Trump was 35 percent. Today it is 39.6 percent. But because Trump’s business was buildings, he was able to write off loans and the depreciation of his assets. These deductions are why he in 2005 paid the alternative minimum tax. Trump in May 2016 filed a financial disclosure form that showed he had 564 companies, and another seven associated with his wife, Melania. Most of these companies were formed after the 2005 tax returns, and today he collects licensing fees for use of his name on hotels, condos and high-profile golf courses around the world. That means that while helpful, the 2005 returns would show little about the foreign business deals or even terms of the refinance of major debt he owed to Deutsche Bank, whose wealth management division handled the reworking of the his debt.
MAN WHO KILLED THREE MUSLIM NEIGHBORS FACES VICTIM'S FAMILIES IN COURT: Looking thin and haggard, defendant Craig Hicks appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight since the February 2015 fatal shootings of a husband and wife who lived nearby and the wife's sister. Hicks is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the killings of 23-year-old Deah Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Barakat was a student at the University of North Carolina's dental school; Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, had been accepted to study there. Razan Abu-Salha was a 19-year-old student at N.C. State who had stopped by their condominium for dinner the night all three were killed. "This is the first time where he's shown up," Farris Barakat said. Defense attorney Steve Freedman said he couldn't confirm when Hicks' last public appearance was. Farris Barakat said that he felt Hicks appeared "smug" during previous court appearances, but more contrite this time: "This time it was just a dude."
NC DROPS OUT OF CHALLENGE TO CLEAN POWER PLAN: The Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan, has asked a court to allow the state to withdraw from a the challenge last month, saying that the challenge was not a good use of resources. “We did not feel this case was a good use of our agency’s or taxpayers’ resources, and it did not align with our mission. This will enable us to devote more of our time and energy toward protection of air, water and natural resources,” DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a statement. The motion was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia Circuit by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein on behalf of DEQ.