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NC Senate again delays final vote on tax overhaul

Chris Kardish, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina Senate again on Wednesday delayed a final vote on a tax overhaul plan tentatively approved last week, sending it back to committee for changes.

The Senate pulled the proposal from its schedule and returned it to the Finance Committee. Final passage was already delayed Tuesday for private meetings between the Senate and House to settle differences between the tax overhauls proposed by the two chambers.

The Senate plan goes farther than the House to cut corporate and income taxes. It also eliminates deductions for mortgage interest, phases out exemptions for nonprofits and takes more money away from local governments, which have warned they'd have to raise taxes or cut services.

It's not yet known when the bill will be heard in committee.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said Wednesday the tax bill was pulled as part of the negotiations process with House Republicans on reaching a final agreement on a tax overhaul. He said the Senate is waiting on a proposal from the House.

"We're going to take a look at it, figure out what we can do," he said. "I felt like the best thing for us is to go ahead and send the bill to the Finance Committee while we're engaged in this process. Hopefully we'll be in a position to schedule a Finance Committee meeting to take the bill up at some point."

Berger said the biggest impasse is over a "philosophical difference" on how much the tax plan should affect state revenues.

"They want to spend more; we want to spend less," he said.

The Senate plan goes farther than the House plan on tax cuts. It would repeal corporate taxes by 2017 and lower income taxes to a flat 5.25-percent rate by 2015. By the 2017-18 fiscal year, personal income and corporate tax cuts in the Senate plan would total $2.3 billion a year. The Senate plan would raise about $750 million less in revenue when fully implemented than the House proposal, which would raise $570 million less than the current tax structure.


Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report.