posted on April 07, 2006 10:19
The current debate in Raleigh over higher impact fees reminds of a political-consultant friend who liked to tweak his politician clients. When the politicians agonized about whether to support any tax increases, my friend would suggest – with a straight face:
“Tell them you support higher taxes on foreigners who don’t live in the United States.”
Impact fees, in other words, have become the sure-fire easy solution to raising money without making anybody mad.
I wonder if the business-development community will figure out a way to fight this political gorilla.
Here is what my friend Bob Geary – who is an excellent writer, fellow blogger and local political activist – said in a comment on my earlier post:
“Gary, I know you’d want to say in your attack ad that an impact fee is just another cost the city is putting on you IF YOU ARE BUYING A NEWLY CONSTRUCTED HOUSE OR CONDO ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN. (Emphasis in original.) Because, of course, impact fees are only levied on NEW developments, not on an existing “house or condo or any property.”
And the competing plan would exempt development downtown where the infrastructure already exists to support it.”
In other words, the only consumers who will pay more are people who buy a house or condo that isn’t downtown.
Bob and his allies on the Council are betting – politically – that these people are not going to be an effective political factor in the 2007 Raleigh races.
And the pro-fee crowd is betting heavily. I understand they paid for a lot of phone calls to Raleigh voters supporting higher fees – as an alternative to higher taxes.
I know the Wake Homebuilders are paying for anti-fee ads. Does anybody know who is paying for the pro-fee calls?