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Tax idea getting mixed reviews

By By Reggie Ponder

Staff Writer

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A GOP proposal to replace the state’s corporate income tax and personal income tax with an expanded and increased sales tax is getting mixed reviews from local business people.
Sal Demaria, who operates Ron-E’s Barber Shop on Hughes Boulevard, said he opposes the plan.
 
“I’m not for it,” Demaria said. “I’m definitely against it.”
Demaria said a sales tax would mean raising the price of a haircut — something he doesn’t want to do.
 
“Right now, in this economy, nobody wants to raise the price of any item,” Demaria said.
The plan backed by Senate president pro-tem Phil Berger, R-Guilford, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, would to replace the state’s personal and corporate sales taxes with an increased sales tax that would also be extended for the first time to services such as lawn care, haircuts and auto repair.
 
Demaria said the expanded sales tax would increase the amount of time he has to spend doing paperwork.
 
“I think it’s just going to be a hassle,” Demaria said.
 
Demaria, who has been a barber for more than half a century, has run a shop in Elizabeth City since moving here from California nine years ago. 
 
His wife, whom he met in San Diego, is from
Engelhard, and she wanted to return to northeastern North Carolina, he said.
 
Demaria has a business-drives-business philosophy: People who come into his barbershop for a haircut are likely to patronize other nearby businesses.
 
Demaria said he understands that the state needs money. He said he also is in favor of programs that help people “but I hate helping people that don’t help themselves.”
 
Norman Young, owner of Norman Young’s Tire Center, said the consumption tax approach would be less confusing than the current system and would be fairer.
 
“I have mixed feelings on that, but my gut instinct is that to do away with the corporate income tax and the personal income tax and let everybody pay a percentage on everything that they buy would put everybody on an equal footing,” Young said. 
 
Jean Baker, a city councilwoman in Elizabeth City and the president-elect for 2014 of the Albemarle Area Association of Realtors, said the N.C. Association of Realtors will be fighting the proposal because it could mean an additional tax on the profit from selling a house.
 
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