Extended Proposed NC Constitution Amendments Explanation

These are not in order of appearance on the ballot.  These 4 amendments are the most concerning because of the impact on state resources and the destructive change in separation of powers.  More fast facts and links to the entire proposed amendment documents can be found here https://democracync.org/take-action/our-votes/.

Income Tax Cap Amendment

Proposed to read as:  Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).

  • Republicans rigged our economy to benefit their donors and the wealthy few, giving millionaires a massive tax cut. Now they want to make those efforts permanent.
  • These caps will hamstring our state spending to protect tax cuts for millionaires, shortchanging things our state needs like more resources for public education, clean water, and infrastructure.
  • Senate Bill 75 would permanently freeze the state’s personal income tax rate at 7 percent at a high cost to North Carolina’s communities. The cap would cut off a vital source of revenue and continue the path to zero income tax that current legislative leaders have prioritized.
  • Instead of investing in the building blocks of prosperity, North Carolina has been changing its tax code to benefit the wealthy and powerful. Our state has already passed income tax cuts that give the wealthiest and corporations the biggest benefits at the expense of public investment.
    • In total, the tax changes mean that North Carolina has $3.5 billion less in revenue each year than under the old tax code. That’s equal to our investments in community colleges, early childhood and children’s health combined.
  • Constitutionally limiting the income tax rate would put more money into the pockets of the wealthiest households and largest, most profitable corporations – while investment in the common good declines.
    • This radical step would drain the state of resources to make public investments that would promote broad prosperity.
    • It would make it near impossible to set up a tax code that asks wealthy taxpayers to pay based on their income.
  • This change will mean higher property taxes, sales taxes, and local fees, further shifting the tax burden from corporations and the wealthy to middle class and poor North Carolinians.
    • Arbitrarily limiting the income tax will bring greater reliance on sales and other taxes, disadvantaging middle-class North Carolinians and those who struggle to get by.
    • In North Carolina today, the lower one’s income, the greater share of that income is paid in state and local taxes.
    • This imbalance would worsen under the income tax limit, as the state and local governments would be forced to raise sales and property taxes, court fees, and other revenue sources that cost the wealthiest a smaller share of their income than everyone else would have to pay.

Voter ID/Suppression Amendment

Proposed to read on ballot as:  Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

  • This constitutional amendment creates new hurdles to the ballot box that will hurt seniors, veterans, young people, minorities, and other groups who are less likely to have a driver’s license.
  • The same lawmakers who drafted an illegal voter ID law that federal judges found targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision” now want to permanently add it to our state’s constitution. And they’re forcing voters to do the dirty work.
  • Republicans have yet to offer any details on the policy, instead leaving it vague and telling voters to trust them. The same Republicans who drafted the monster voting law now want a blank check to do what they please.
    • The devil’s in the details. Will only those with NC Real IDs be able to vote? What about college IDs, public assistance IDs or employer IDs? Will the ballot process be tedious?
  • This is a solution in search of a problem that has some very serious consequences. North Carolina’s elections are already fair and free of voter fraud.
    • A 2017 audit from the NC State Board of Elections found that a voter identification law would have stopped one vote out of nearly 3 million cast. Voter mistakes are not the same as voter fraud.
    • The State Board of Elections has recommended voter education – not more restrictive laws and new hurdles to voting.
  • The last time we did this, our voter suppression law cheated honest citizens of their right to vote and North Carolina made national headlines for trying to restrict the right to vote.
    • More than 1,400 people lost their right to vote in the March 2016 primary with the ID law in effect.
  • In other states that have enacted strict voter suppression laws, turnout has dropped. Photo ID laws are a barrier, and the barrier is real, nontrivial, and unequal in impact.
    • Turnout decreases in Kansas and Tennessee “were attributable to changes in those two states’ voter ID requirements,” according to Congress’ nonpartisan research agency. Republicans have been caught in a lie about the effects of voter ID, claiming that it actually increases turnout. But the data shows the opposite.
  • This bill goes too far and would make North Carolina an extreme outlier, again making our state known for all the wrong reasons.
    • House Bill 1092 would make NC only the 3rd state (along with Mississippi and Missouri) to enshrine a voter ID restriction in its state constitution. In Missouri, the amendment doesn’t even require photo ID. This bill goes too far.
  • Voter ID has already disproportionately disenfranchised African‐American voters.
    • Although African-Americans made up only 23% of all voters in the March 2016 primary, they were more than a third of the votes silenced by the strict voter suppression law.
    • And that’s only counting those who made provisional ballots. Others just left the polling place rather than deal with the extra hassle.
  • We need to make it easier to vote, not harder.

The Alternative Board of Elections & Ethics Amendment

Proposed to read on ballot as:   Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.

  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that it erodes check and balances. It projects to voters the false image of sharing power when, in fact, it would wrest power from the Governor and consolidate it with the legislature.
  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that power will reside solely in the legislature to determine who will be the members of the Board of Elections and Ethics.
  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that the courts recently ruled that the legislature’s actions on a similar scheme are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court already ruled them out of bounds, so now they are trying to change the boundaries.
  • This amendment doesn’t tell the people that the primary purpose and effect of a 4-4 board is to create gridlock. Republicans use gridlock to suppress voting by reducing early voting and accessible polling places.
  • The amendment doesn’t tell voters that a Bipartisan Board of Elections already exists — four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated board member.

The Alternative Judicial Vacancy Amendment

Proposed to read on ballot as:  Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend at least two nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

  • This alternative amendment does not tell voters that legislators would choose the judges who will rule on the constitutionality of laws that they pass. If legislators are choosing our judges, won’t our judges be disposed to uphold the laws any time someone challenges those laws?
  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that only the legislature may select names of judicial nominees and that the Governor must appoint judges only from nominees the General Assembly sends to him or her.
  • This amendment doesn’t inform voters that the Chief Justice appoints the vacancy if the Governor doesn’t appoint one of the legislature’s favorites within 10 days.
  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that judges appointed under the new system could end up serving an additional 3+ years without standing for election, meaning that it delays the election of judges by the voters.
  • This amendment doesn’t tell voters that there is already a process for nonpartisan input on the judicial vacancy selection and inaccurately leads voters to believe that they will have more input on judicial nominees than they actually would have.
  • The amendment would mislead voters into thinking that judges will be chosen on their merits when the amendment contains no requirement other than to be a licensed attorney under the mandatory retirement age.
  • This amendment fails to inform voters that it strikes a whole section of the state constitution.