John Hood, chairman and president of the John Lock Foundation, recently sent a letter outlining how politicians now in control of North Carolina policies steer the ship-of-state in the “wrong direction.” We on board are in danger of being awash and drowned in debt and taxes. Mr. Hood chronicles the mismanagement and corruption now at the helm in Raleigh.
Metaphorically, their misguided navigation takes us into perilous political waters. Unconcerned for passenger safety, the irresponsible captain and crew
__ took on dangerous cargo: $1.6 billion federal “stimulus” money.
__ burdened the ship with $350 million in “corporate welfare.”
__ stowed $6 billion contraband aboard—debt, over a third “non-voter-approved.”
__ squandered emergency supplies by draining “reserve accounts.”
__ wasted precious fuel—next year the “state will face a $3 billion budget shortfall.”
__ stole property from passengers—raised “sales and income taxes over $1 billion in 2009.”
Warnings from passengers go unheeded. Meanwhile crew members sabotage the ship. They
__ damage life boats—by drawing “House and Senate district lines to protect themselves from competition.”
__ take our life jackets—using “tax money to campaign for re-election.”
__ enlist mercenaries to control passengers—feed the press to prevent us from “learning the truth about policy issues” and to keep us from knowing “what’s really going on.”
We can’t abandon ship, but we can mutiny and take it back. We can throw these pirates overboard and replace them with a responsible captain and crew.Read full article » No Comments »
Even as local governments are reeling from tough budgetary times, led in large part by their profligate spending, pie in the sky art projects like the multi-billion dollar, 9.5 mile Skyway bridge is STILL being discussed. Sadly, those advocating it now want to tie up private property WITHOUT compensating folks that would be affected. They call it, “corridor protection.” In essence, to preserve where the bridge might go, they want to prevent people who own the property from being able to do ANYTHING with it.
Wilmington City Council member Laura Padgett said she understands and share’s Batson’s frustration, and again talked about pressing state and local officials to come up with a new funding method for new highways that would prevent property owners from finding themselves in limbo.
But she doesn’t reject the proposition. Leland and Belville mayors both deserve a well earned “high five” for standing firm on how ridiculous this project is.
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Sales tax figures are down 20% from last year in Brunswick County. For folks who advocated a sales tax increase (like New Hanover did) the implications could be dire indeed. The up and down nature of sales tax is one of the legitimate criticism that the press often misses. You can’t count future sales tax revenue because it depends on buying habits which are subject to whims and shifts.
For the entire 2009-10 fiscal year, which ended June 30, the county brought in $15.1 million in sales tax revenue. That’s $1.1 million less than had been budgeted for. The sales tax decreases are expected to continue throughout the next year. . .
No mention of the potential implications for New Hanover County’s new tax OR the proposal pending in Columbus County.Read full article » No Comments »
David Bass has a great overview of how local governments have adapted to convince voters that new taxes are a good ideas. It is the engineering of public perception.
“Here’s the biggest sales pitch they’re using on people: the sales tax affects everybody … it gets the Mexicans, it gets the illegals, it gets everybody,” said Allen Page, Southeast regional director for FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group opposed to the taxes.
Page also said that elected officials indirectly are threatening to raise property taxes unless voters OK the sales tax increase. “They hold the vote hostage, of sorts, by saying that if [voters] don’t vote this sales tax in, we’re going to raise your property tax,” he said.
I’ve worked with Page for years across the state and concur with his assertions. Working with grass roots people you see how overwhelmed they sometimes feel when their own tax dollars are being used to “educate” voters.
New Hanover County Commissioner Chairman, Jason Thompson, even made the story.
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That scenario cropped up in New Hanover County, where voters approved the sales tax hike May 4 by a narrow margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. Seven weeks later, county commissioners backed an annual budget that included a 1.3-cent property tax increase. Some residents felt mislead by commissioners’ rhetoric on the topic.
“If you vote no to the quarter-cent sales tax, you’re voting yes to a property tax, and nobody wants to see that,” said commission chairman Jason Thompson in an interview with WECT News in April.
In a Wilmington Star-News story published two weeks after the vote, Thompson said his comments referred to the fact that if voters hadn’t approved the sales tax, an even larger property tax hike would have been necessary.