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New budget includes tax, fee hikes

RALEIGH – Get ready to dig a little deeper in your pocket.

With the recent passage of the 2009-10 state budget, new fees and taxes have been put in place to help North Carolina recover from an estimated $4.5 billion deficit.

The majority of a new $990 million revenue-generating package will come by way of an added penny to the state sales tax. In most areas of the state, the new tax is 7.75 cents per $1 purchase. The sales tax hike is effective Sept. 1.

In addition to the sales tax hike, North Carolinians will also note increases in other areas. They are as follows:

Individual income surcharge. Applies a 2 percent surcharge on married couples whose taxable income is between $100,000 and $250,000. Couples with taxable income of over $250,000 would see a 3 percent surcharge on the tax they owe. This surcharge is expected to generate over $172 million in new revenue.

Corporate income tax. A 3 percent surcharge on the profit tax paid by corporations (expected to raise $23.1 million).

Sales tax will now apply to digital downloads (music and ringtones) and Internet purchases (projected to generate nearly $12 million).

“Sin” taxes are also on the rise in North Carolina. Tobacco users will pay 10 cents more for a pack of cigarettes and an additional 2.8 percent for other tobacco products. If you enjoy beer, expect to pay an added nickel for a six-pack. Other hikes in alcohol include four cents more for a bottle of wine and a five percent hike for a bottle of liquor. Those new taxes are expected to generate nearly $70 million in revenue.

The new state budget also increases various fees. They are:

A marriage license, now $50, increases to $60.

Bail bondsmen license fee doubles from $100 to $200.

HMO operational fees will also double (from $250 to $500).

Child care licensing fees will see an increase from $35 to $52 for small operations and from $400 to $600 for the larger facilities.

Convicted criminals who have a court-appointed lawyer will be charged a $50 appointment fee.

Defendants who fail to appear for a scheduled court date will now pay $200, an increase from $100.