Breaking down four of the constitution amendments on the North Carolina ballot.

Breaking down four of the constitution amendments on the North Carolina ballot.
Income Tax Cap Amendment language (Source: WBTV-Lauren Tostenson)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Below is a breakdown of four of the constitution amendments on the North Carolina ballot. Lauren Tostenson explains the nuts and bolts of each for voters.

AMENDMENT REGARDING STATE BOARD OF ETHICS AND ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT

Currently the State Board of Ethics and Election Enforcement has nine members. This amendment would change that total to eight members, four from each party.

Here’s how it will look on the ballot when you go to vote:

Election Board Amendment
Elections Board Amendment
Elections Board Amendment (Source: WBTV-Lauren Tostenson)

The rest of the ballot language goes on to say the power to choose those board members would shift from the governor to the legislature.

Explanation from UNCC Political Science Professor, Dr. Eric Heberlig:

“When you appoint the same number of people from both political parties to a commission, you’re asking for deadlock. The Federal Election Commission is a good example of that, it is entirely ineffective because they can’t do anything because you appoint democrats and republicans who disagree on how to enforce election law, you’re not going to get election law enforced.”

AMENDMENT REGARDING STATE INCOME TAX CAP FROM 10% TO 7%

Currently, our state income tax has a cap of 10%, meaning the state can’t raise our income tax above that percentage. This amendment would lower the cap from 10% to 7%. Lower taxes sound great, but it’s important to note this would not affect anyone’s current taxes, because our personal income tax rate is 5.499%, this amendment would only affect any tax rate hikes down the road.

Here’s how it will look on the ballot when you go to vote:

Income tax amendment
Income Tax Cap Amendment language
Income Tax Cap Amendment language (Source: WBTV-Lauren Tostenson)

Explanation from UNCC Political Science Professor, Dr. Eric Heberlig:

“The point of lowering the maximum income tax level is that it protects you, anybody, from having an income tax from going above that in the future. The downside of it is, if we have state needs, state crisis, like hurricanes coming through during a recession and we need money to do whatever citizens of the state want to have done, if you don’t have the capacity to raise those funds, then you can’t meet those current needs. So, it just locks you in, doesn’t give you that flexibility.”

AMENDMENT REGARDING JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

This amendment has to do with who has a say in filling judge vacancies. Similar to the Election Board Amendment, it gives more power to the legislature and less to the governor.

Here’s how it will look on the ballot when you go to vote:

Judicial Appointments Amendment
Judicial Appointments Amendment
Judicial Appointments Amendment (Source: WBTV- Lauren Tostenson)

Basically instead of the governor making the decision on his or her own, this amendment would put the power in the hands of a legislative commission who would then put forth judge nominees to the Governor for final selection. The power shift is similar to what’s proposed in the Election Board amendment.

Explanation from UNCC Political Science Professor, Dr. Eric Heberlig:

“When you ask most people ‘what do you like about the U.S. constitution?’ they like checks and balances, and they like separation of powers. These two amendments undermine both separation of powers and checks a balances. It’s not that legislators aren’t capable of picking qualified people, it’s just they’re likely to pick people that agree with them, and aren’t going to be effective checks on abuses of the legislative branch. “

AMENDMENT REGARDING THE RIGHT TO HUNT AND FISH

This amendment would put a constitutional protection in place to protect hunting and fishing rights, however the measure doesn’t say much else.

Here’s how it will look on the ballot when you go to vote:

Hunting and Fishing Amendment
Hunting and Fishing Amendment language
Hunting and Fishing Amendment language (Source: WBTV- Lauren Tostenson)

Supporters of the measure say the amendment would protect the tradition of hunting and fishing so the right to do so would always exist. However, critics believe the amendment is too vague, and could prevent regulations to be voted on in the future.

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