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6.30.20

Huffington Post: “Thom Tillis Grew Up In A Mobile Home, Then He Hiked Taxes On Them”

The Huffington Post reports this morning that “when [Thom Tillis] was serving as speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2013, voted to hike taxes on mobile home buyers like the ones he grew up with.”

The tax hike is notable because in his first ad of the general election, which “struck familiar tones for a politician aiming to reintroduce himself to the electorate,” Tillis “depicts a young family moving into a mobile home” in an effort to reinvent himself as someone who looks out for “the little guy.” 

The truth is, Tillis voted to double the sales tax rate of mobile homes during his time in the North Carolina state legislature, hiking taxes up for mobile home buyers from an estimated $600 to $3,800.

According to the Huffington Post, this affected nearly 600,000 mobile homes. In North Carolina, that was 13.5 percent of available housing.

Local reporting from the time indicated mobile home dealers were concerned about the law’s effect: “It’s impacting the people that have the least ability to pay for it because we do deal with lower-income housing, or more affordable housing, and so, they’re the ones who are going to feel the pinch the worst, and I’m not really sure that’s right.” 

Read the full story below. 


Huffington Post: Thom Tillis Grew Up In A Mobile Home, Then He Hiked Taxes On Them

By Kevin Robillard – June 30, 2020

  • Republican Sen. Thom Tillis’s first ad of the general election struck familiar tones for a politician aiming to reintroduce himself to the electorate. The ad, which depicts a young family moving into a mobile home, is meant to play up Tillis’s working-class roots as unemployment skyrockets due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • But a new digital ad from Cal Cunningham, the former military prosecutor and state senator who won the Democratic nomination to challenge Tillis, notes the Republican, when he was serving as speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2013, voted to hike taxes on mobile home buyers like the ones he grew up with. 
  • That year, as part of a tax reform law that cut corporate and income taxes that passed mostly along party lines, Tillis voted to scrap a $600 cap on the sales tax a mobile home buyer would need to pay, and to double the sales tax rate on mobile homes from 2% to 4.75%.
  • At the time, mobile home sellers in North Carolina said that a typical four-bedroom, double-wide home would cost about $80,000. Before the Tillis-supported law, a buyer would pay $600 in taxes. After the law went into effect, they would pay $3,800. At the time, mobile home dealers told local media outlets, the law would hurt their mostly low-income customers.
  • “When Thom Tillis got elected, he hiked taxes on mobile homes and gave billions in tax breaks to his corporate donors,” a male narrator says in Cunningham’s ad. “So when he says he’s one of us, remember Tillis works for them now.” 
  • Later in 2014, Tillis also supported a law to exempt 50% of a mobile home’s purchase price from sales taxes. But the net effect still caused taxes on most new mobile homes to increase. 
  • The issue isn’t academic in North Carolina. At the time of the law’s passage, census data indicated the state had nearly 600,000 mobile homes, which made up 13.5% of available housing, the fifth-highest percentage of any state in the country. 
  • Public surveys indicate Cunningham and Tillis are in a tight race. Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, and a win for Cunningham is considered a necessity if Democrats hope to overtake the upper chamber’s Republican majority.