North Carolina companies fear freeze on jobs if taxes rise

Some local business groups and small businesses are worried proposed tax increases in the state budget bill could do more damage than good, compromising the ability of small businesses to create jobs.

The N.C. General Assembly could pass a budget this week that would include $990 million in new taxes to help avoid painful cuts in education and other areas.

The agreement, announced by Democratic leaders Monday night, includes a variety of taxes that affect businesses. Among them: It raises the state sales tax by 1 percentage point and adds a surcharge that N.C. residents will have to pay on their income taxes. Many small businesses pay income taxes as individual filers.

Individuals earning at least $60,000 or couples earning at least $100,000 would face a 2.5 percent surcharge on income tax. Couples who earn more than $250,000 a year would face a 3 percent income tax surcharge.

Small business owners interviewed Tuesday were wary of increasing taxes in the middle of a recession, even as many were learning details of the plans for the first time.

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