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Our 6.3% Property Tax Increase

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By the time you read this our top elected local Socialist – I’m writing of course about Jennifer Roberts –  will have graciously presented you with a 6.3% property tax increase. We now have a property tax rate of $.8166 per $100 of accessed property. A revenue neutral rate would have been $.7678 per $100. This 6.3% increase will soak you for another $50 MILLION. For some reason the percentage increase was never mentioned by that bastion of journalistic integrity – The Charlotte Observer – in their breathless advocacy for the tax increase prior to Tuesday’s budget vote by the BOCC.

If you live in Charlotte (85% of Mecklenburg County residents) you have already been the highest taxed individual in North Carolina for the past ten years.In the FY 2009 budget year (last available statistics), Charlotteans were clipped on average $2,360. The median average in North Carolina was $1,304. That’s a mere 44% difference if you’re mathematically inclined. Thanks to Roberts, you are padding your lead.

But it’s just money, which to Jen and her pals is never an obstacle, particularly when it belongs to someone else. Some friends of mine (I know, hard to believe that I actually have any) were chatting about this very subject at lunch on May 19.

A newcomer to our group, Jeffrey Henson, sent me some concerns he had about the proposed tax increase on May 19 and 20, which I would like to bring to your attention. He wrote:

“The terms of the debate right now are being dictated by the Left, and it’s all about investing/reinvesting in schools and children. We should take that phrase for the budget, ‘ As a point of context the $1.3 billion recommended budget for FY 2912 is consistent with funding levels in the FY09 budget approved by the Board’ and shout from the mountaintop, this isn’t 2008.”

“Possible arguments to make:

1)      We have TWICE as many people unemployed in this county in 2011 than in 2008, and we are raising taxes to give raises to county workers??

2)      Comparisons to Wake County: Their county staff just presented a $951,500,000 budget that holds property tax rates steady, in part because their recommended budget is spending nearly $33 million less than their 2009 budget (http://www.garnercitizen.com/2011/05/17/county-manager-presents-2012-recommended-budget/). Why can’t we do the same? Instead, we are spending $1.3 billion and raising property taxes 6.3%. Is it an apt comparison to draw between Meck and Wake County?

3)      Are we giving CMS too much of a free pass? The Wake County school system has more students than CMS (143,289 vs. 135,639), yet they operate only 163 schools, whereas we operate 178. Why isn’t anyone drawing these contrasts? Wake County is spending $314.4 million on Wake County schools. How much are we spending with fewer students?

4)      As I mentioned yesterday, personal income in Mecklenburg County decreased over 5% from 2007 to 2009 according to U.S. Commerce Department. Add to that loss of purchasing power due to the rise in gas and food prices. In the Southeast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food prices rose 0.5% in April following a 0.7% increase in March; that is an annualized rise of 7.2%! April saw a 7.2% rise in motor fuel prices. Electricity and gas service each increased 0.6% in April (see http://www.bls.gov/ro4/spiso.pdf). Folks, our wallets are shrinking by the month – who will speak for us?

5)      What about debt service? Is 21% of our expenditures being applied to debt service too high? Could an argument be made that our borrowing binge of the 2000’s is more to blame than the evil Republicans in Raleigh for our current financial predicament?

We have seen Democratic bastions in New Jersey and Wisconsin breached and defeated when the terms of the political debate focus on the taxpayer vs. public sector workers. That is what is needed here in Mecklenburg right now. I honestly do not believe that people in this County understand how far we have fallen from 2008. We need to repeat, over and over again: 32,000 FEWER WORKERS. TWICE as many unemployed. Personal incomes have decreased, and are further shrinking because of inflation. And the response of the people who ostensibly are supposed to serve us is: GIVE US MORE!! I personally like my medieval barber analogy – ‘bleed ‘em more to cure them.’

If we can’t win this one, them we might as well all move to Union or York County.”

Jeff

Well, we did lose this one, as per usual. Feast on what you now have:

“County Manager Harry Joes presented a Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 that totals $1.3 billion. This is 2.9% more than the current year’s adopted budget, an increase of $39.4 million. As a point of context, the $1.3 billion recommended budget for FY 2012 is consistent with funding levels in the FY09 budget approved by the Board.” http:charmeck.org/Mecklenburg/county/CountymanagersOffice/BusinessManagement/Pages/2012RecommendedBudget.aspx

Civilian Labor Force Estimates for the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina – Mecklenburg County

April 2008 – 443,795 employed, 22,237 unemployed. 4.8% unemployed

March 2011 – 411,848 employed, 45,736 unemployed. 10.0% unemployed

Sales Tax Data – NC State Treasurer’s Office

Mecklenburg County – $247,551,123 in sales tax collected in 2008. $186,765,701 collected in 2010.

Decrease in Sales Tax Revenue from 2008 compared to 2010 for Mecklenburg County: 24.5%

Census Data 2010

Population growth since 2000

Union County    62.7%

Cabarrus            35.7%

York, SC           37.3%

Mecklenburg     32.2%

Personal Income by County for North Carolina 2007-2009

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

http://www.bea.gov/regional/reis/scb.cfm

Mecklenburg County (millions of dollars)

2007        $39,092

2008        $41,141

2009        $38,961

Change (-5.3%)

So there you have it folks. Jennifer Roberts and her motley crew are literally killing this county. The question is: Are we going to let them get away with it?

You might have noticed the people we have chosen to protect us from this thievery – three of the four GOP members of the BOCC ( Cooksey, Bentley, and Pendergraph), GOP Chair Gideon Moore, Wannabe Governor “Mr. Conservative” Pat McCrory, and the rest of the RINO Usual Suspects – have done zilch for us.

Bill James is it folks, and he is a leper as far as the Ruling Class Elite is concerned. The truth is, for those of us who love this community and want to live here and see Mecklenburg County prosper, we have one alternative: Elect people who will give us back our freedom or watch the RCE’s turn this place into Wayne County, Michigan – with Charlotte becoming the new Detroit. Think about it.

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