Americans for Tax Reform applauds North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest (R-NC) for becoming the first and so far only candidate running for Governor in North Carolina who has ruled out tax hikes if elected this November.

By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to North Carolinians (not ATR) to oppose and veto any and all efforts to pass a net tax hike, Dan Forest has demonstrated the stark contrast between him and his opponent, incumbent Governor Roy Cooper, when it comes to taxes.

While Governor Roy Cooper has made clear that he would ratchet up income and other tax rates if only he had a Democrat-run General Assembly that would send such bills to his desk, Lt. Governor Dan Forest, by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, has made clear that tax hikes will be a non-starter and off the table in the Old North State if voters put him in the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh this fall. 

Governor Roy Cooper has repeatedly stated and made clear that he would like to undo the personal and corporate income tax relief that has been enacted in North Carolina since Republicans took control of the General Assembly nearly a decade ago.

On January 1, 2019 North Carolina’s personal income tax rate dropped from 5.499% to 5.25%, while the state’s corporate rate dropped from 3.0% to 2.5%, the lowest corporate income tax rate among states that impose the levy. In the lead up to those income tax cuts last year, Governor Roy Cooper repeatedly urged state legislators to vote to stop that scheduled tax relief from taking effect. Fortunately for taxpayers, North Carolina lawmakers ignored Governor Cooper’s advice and went forward with that tax relief.

North Carolina is a presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial battleground state in 2020. In addition to that, there are import state supreme courts seats up for election, along with all of the state legislative races that will determine which party controls redistricting post-2020 in a state that will be adding a congressional district. When it comes to the gubernatorial race, North Carolina taxpayers will have a clear and stark choice.

“I applaud Lt. Governor Dan Forest for making this important commitment to North Carolina taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Governor Roy Cooper wants to undo the pro-growth tax reforms enacted in North Carolina in recent years, which have served as a model for the nation and allowed North Carolina families to keep billions of dollars in hard-earned income that would’ve otherwise gone toward government coffers. At the same time North Carolina lawmakers have returned billions to taxpayers, over the objections of Governor Cooper, North Carolina Republican legislators have smartly kept state spending in line with the rate of population growth and inflation. The result is that North Carolina, contrary to what Governor Cooper and his allies predicted, has realized repeated budget surpluses at the same time state lawmakers have returned billions to taxpayers, despite objections from Roy Cooper. 

“Lt. Governor Dan Forest’s pledge to taxpayers makes clear that unlike Governor Cooper – who wants to tear down the progress North Carolina has made with tax reform, school choice, and regulatory reform – Dan Forest would protect taxpayers and pursue pro-growth policies if elected governor.”