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Tax Records: Cunningham Put Teachers, Families First, While Tillis Prioritized Corporate Donors Over Educators

Senator Tillis is desperately attempting to distract from his record putting his corporate special interest donors and the wealthiest few before working North Carolinians and teachers, criticizing a budget from 20 years ago that made investments in education, child care, and North Carolina families.

As Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis passed sweeping tax legislation that cut taxes for corporations and overwhelmingly benefited the highest income earners the most while ending “several deductions and tax provisions that benefit working class taxpayers” and leaving the state with fewer resources for teachers and services. Tillis’ 2013 tax bill: 

  • Eliminated the Earned Income Tax Credit, making North Carolina the first state to do so
  • Doubled the mobile home sales tax
  • Eliminated a back-to-school tax holiday
  • Slashed the corporate tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5 percent. 

A legislator who served with Tillis even said: “Yes, you can go back and say if we didn’t cut taxes we would have money for education.”

Cal Cunningham, by comparison, voted for a budget that: 

  • Increased the child tax credit
  • Created a three-day sales tax holiday for school supplies
  • Increased pay for state employees, including teachers
  • Reduced class sizes and added a pre-K pilot program
  • Created a fund to reform mental health

Senator Tillis had the same wrong priorities in the U.S. Senate as in the legislature. Despite promises that the 2017 tax bill would reduce the national debt and benefit working families, Tillis’ vote increased the deficit by nearly $2 trillion, benefited wealthy Americans and corporations at the expense of North Carolina families, and paved the way for a lawsuit to dismantle the ACA.

  • News & Observer: “…studies have found that the richest Americans got the biggest advantage — with some estimates that the top 20% got 72% of the benefits while the bottom 60% of earners saw 15% of the benefits.”
  • Vox: “[the tax bill] leaves low- and middle-income workers with even fewer resources to invest in their children, and increases the number of Americans without health insurance.”
  • NYT: “companies have spent nearly three times as much on additional dividends and stock buybacks, which boost a company’s stock price and market value.”
  • Ninety-one of the largest corporations didn’t pay federal income taxes on their 2018 income.

Senator Tillis’ record reveals he consistently has raised taxes on North Carolina families only to give tax breaks to his wealthy donors and big corporations.