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Scott Elmquist

Monday, December 7, 2015

Why Gov. McAuliffe's Corporate Tax Cuts Are Aimed at North Carolina

Virginia is falling down in national business rankings as N.C. rises.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 6:19 AM

You got to love the Andy of Mayberry types just south of Virginia’s border. Except for one thing: they are eating our lunch.

In the past two years, North Carolina reduced its corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5 percent. It is expected cut the rate to 4 percent next year.

That is one reason why Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic governor, says he wants to cut this state’s corporate income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.75 percent by the start of 2017. It should bring $64 million in tax relief for businesses over two years.

Although he isn’t mentioning it, one thing that might have McAuliffe worried is how North Carolina’s image in the business world is rising while Virginia’s is dropping.

In 2013, Forbes ranked Virginia as the No. 1 state for business. It slipped to No. 4 last year and now is No. 7.

The Tar Heel ranking has moved up to No. 2 after Utah this year.

It isn’t the first time North Carolina has bested Virginia. Way back in the late 1950s, it came up with the idea for the Research Triangle Park, a foresighted way to link research, corporate offices and universities. Back in the day, Virginia wasn’t much into research outside of what the military, textile and tobacco companies did.

Then, in the 1980s, Raleigh legislators implemented plans to make the state bank-friendly. Guess who suffered? Richmond, which saw several regional banks relocate to places like Charlotte.

There are some other interesting points in McAuliffe’s plan. One is to raise the state’s Angel Investor Tax Credit from $5 million to $9 million with $2 million for bioscience.

It should help the state’s spotty technology start-up market which is pretty much confined to Northern Virginia although there’s some in Roanoke and Charlottesville. Richmond is still an also-ran.

Curiously, these ideas come from a Democrat whom Republicans used to tar as a tax and spend liberal. Who knew?

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