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Last week there was an outbreak of new taxes in Wake County. Both the Raleigh City Council and the County Commissioners voted to hike taxes the same day.

Lead by Mayor Meeker the City Council voted to increase property taxes 9%. On top of that if the School Bond – which the Mayor supports – passes, property taxes will go up another 11%. That’s a 20% tax increase for Raleigh homeowners. And if you own a car in addition to a home you’ll also pay a new $5 registration fee.

Republican Councilman Phil Isley proposed cutting the city’s $513 million budget just 3% as an alternative to raising taxes. The Mayor and the Democrats on the Council rolled right over him.

Let’s look at a little bit of the spending the Mayor didn’t want to cut: $134,000 for the ballet, $50,000 for the symphony, $43,000 for the museum, $2 million for three roundabouts on Hillsborough Street and, oh yes, $150,000 to lure the Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention to the RBC Center.

The County Commissioners also voted to raise county property taxes the same day. The county property tax hike is 5%. Add on the School Bond tax increase – which six of seven commissioners supported – of 8% and the total county property tax hike could come to 13%.

And finally, this week, the ‘Growth Panel’ the County Commissioners appointed voted to recommend a new sales tax increase, a new real estate tax (when you sell your home) and raising property taxes through more frequent assessments.

Somewhere during Mayor Meeker’s third term Raleigh and Wake County have crossed an invisible line where the momentum for higher taxes and runaway spending has achieved critical mass. The voices calling for ‘more, more, more’ have drowned out the voices calling for any form of fiscal restraint. We seem to have entered a kind of ‘Twilight Zone’ where there are no consequences for wasteful spending and no repercussions for raising taxes.

I wonder if that will change in the next election?

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Posted in: General, Raleigh
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Comments

Braxton Perry
# Braxton Perry
Sunday, July 02, 2006 4:49 PM
Just like teenagers with credit cards.. your credit cards.
Eddie Albertson
# Eddie Albertson
Monday, July 03, 2006 12:04 PM
I have read with interest the moves by both the the city and county in increasing the property tax rates. These increases, as mentioned in your statement and the pending school bond referedum vote that will again increase Wake County property taxes. As I understand this, property owners are going to see another increase whether or not the bond referndum passes.

Unfortunately, taxes are a way of life and the essential element of providing services that we all need in our daily lives. However, these most recent tax increases and the threats by our county commissoners of increasing our property taxes further to support school construction are making me question the whole issue of population growth in Wake County.

Let us remember that more than 50% of our current property taxes go to support the school system. Also as reported in the News & Observer, 69% of the tax payers in the county have no childern in Wake County Pubic Schools.
So, the vast majority of the payers of property taxes get very little in terms of services for their tax contributions.

I am extremely disappointed in all of our county commissioners, particularly those that tout themselves as conservatives for not coming up with some creative ways to solve this problem without increasing taxes once again.

They have come very good at blaming the school board for the problem but let's put the blame where it should go....our local elected officials that control the purse strings and have enacted polices that have lead to explosive population growth. I am not saying that the school board can't run the system more efficiently. The elimination of busing all over the county would be a good start.

However, is there anything wrong with residents that have children to pay to send their children to school in the county? I just don't see how an addtional charge of $200 per child per year would be such a burden for anyone that vaules the supposed high quality of education provided by the school system.

I quess I am getting tired of our elected officials and civic leaders feeding their egos about how successful our region has been economically in recent years. But if this growth continues to bleed the current resdients of their money through addtional taxes, what good is growth?

In closing let me say that every elected official that holds office in either county, city or state government should be held accountable for our ever increasing tax burden. Again, I have read that imposing fees on developers suffcient enough to help out the school construction dilema are controlled by that state legislature, where individual members have received significant financial support from builders and developers to ensure that impact fees to support infrastruture needs are kept to an absolute minimum.

I have lived in Raleigh for over 25 years and perhaps it is time to slow down growth and development until there is a more equitable way to fund all of the infrastrutre needs that this wonderful economic growth has created.





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