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State Lawmakers Tentatively Approve Bill Ending Privilege Taxes

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt
/
WUNC
File photo of N.C. General Assembly in Raleigh, 2021.

State lawmakers in the Senate have tentatively approved a far-ranging tax bill that would end the ability of municipalities to levy special taxes on businesses.

The Senate version of the bill would end what's called the privilege tax. It brings in $62 million a year to municipalities across the state.

Business leaders have long complained that the taxes vary widely and are not fairly levied. Republican Senator Tommy Tucker, who's a small business owner, is in favor of the bill.

"My heating and air company who has more than 75 employees -- I don’t see the fairness in us having to pay the thousand dollar tax the same as Bank of America or Wells Fargo or any other large corporation," says Tucker.

Senate leaders say if their version of the bill becomes law, there is time in next year's long legislative session to work out another plan for municipalities.

City leaders are wary of the measure. They say it could require them to raise property taxes or cut services. The bill requires final approval from the Senate before it can move forward.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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