Recently, Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins Jr. struck down two of the four constitutional amendments that North Carolina voters passed in November – the voter ID amendment that required voters to show identification and the income tax cap that was designed to cap the state’s income-tax rate at 7 percent.
Collins’s ruling was made due to concerns about gerrymandering, a strategy used to divide a territory into election districts in a way that intentionally gives one political party an unfair advantage. Collins noted: “Whether an unconstitutionally racially-gerrymandered General Assembly can place constitutional amendments onto the ballot for public ratification is a justiciable issue and not a political question.”
In our community there are many who would have been negatively impacted by the approval of these amendments. The voter ID amendment in particular would have significantly impacted voter turnout among the elderly, the disabled and minorities. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes many reasons not to implement voter ID laws and/or requirements. To view these reasons, click here.
The NC income tax cap would have a variety of negative impacts that would directly effect low-income families and individuals. The Raleigh News & Observer illustrated the challenges in an article published back in July of 2018. The article specifically states, “Sales taxes (and usage fees) impact poor people much more than they impact wealthy people: Poor people must spend most of their income, subjecting most of their income to sales tax, while wealthier people spend a much lower percentage of their income.” To read more, click here.
Neither of these amendments reflects fairness, equal rights or values related to supporting economic mobility. As we strive to better support individuals and families in our community, it is imperative that we stay abreast of public policies. The changes being recommended and made make a difference!