Did Deborah Ross Use Tax Credits She Championed To Avoid Paying Income Taxes?

Did Deborah Ross Use Tax Credits She Championed To Avoid Paying Income Taxes?

Raleigh, NC — New questions have been raised following the front-page News & Observer story that detailed how Deborah Ross personally benefited from the same historical preservation tax credits she worked to protect as a legislator.

In the story, Ross is pointedly asked if she was able to avoided paying state or federal income taxes as a result of the tax credits. According to the story, the only response Ross could muster was “she would have to check.” Ross’ spokesperson didn’t provide any further clarification when pressed on whether Ross avoided paying income taxes. North Carolinians deserve to know, were there some years Ross avoided paying state or income taxes because she took advantage of the same tax credits she repeatedly sought to protect during her career in the General Assembly?

News & Observer: Ross Opposed Ending Tax Credit That Had Benefited Her Family

Ross was asked by McClatchy whether she had paid zero state or federal taxes in some years due to all the credits. She said she would have to check. [Ross’ spokeswoman Helen] Hare said only that Ross ‘always paid her taxes.’”

More Highlights From The Story:

  • “Democratic senatorial candidate Deborah Ross has widely touted her promotion of generous tax incentives for renovation projects that preserve the character of North Carolina’s historic neighborhoods and the state’s abandoned mills and warehouses – ghosts of industries gone offshore. What she’s less vocal about is that she and her husband, Stephen Wrinn, also have benefited substantially from the historic tax credits she helped champion.”
  • “Ross did not respond to questions about the impact her bill might have had on her husband’s project.”
  • “‘I think certainly for some voters this will smack of personal interests, combined with the public good,’ said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College.”
  • “Wrinn and Ross’ restoration project won federal approval in 2006, and Ross and Wrinn qualified for $131,000 in tax credits on their residence, with another $60,000 for the rental unit, according to state documents obtained under a public records request. The state Department of Cultural Resources acts as the U.S. Interior Department’s agent in providing guidance for such projects to ensure that each property is worthy of designation as a certified historic place and the renovation work preserves its character.”
  • “As with his home, Wrinn estimated the construction costs would be $150,000. But his final qualifying expenditures totaled $340,000, earning the couple another $136,000 in state and federal tax credits.”