posted on July 18, 2006 15:31
Was my blog about the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Future of Wake County (“A Blue Ribbon Punt”) too harsh?
One reader says no:
“What a laugh. The "Blue Ribbon" panel was designed to deflect blame from the big spenders. The scandal in this whole charade is the failure of anyone to mention or factor in the enormous increase in the valuation of the tax base and the resulting huge increase in tax revenues generated without even touching rates.”
But Michael Walden, an NCSU professor who served on the commission, seems to think otherwise. His opinion is backed up by comments on my blog by John Hood of the John Locke Foundation.
Specifically, Walden wrote in The News & Observer Monday:
“I'll argue that the BRC did reach consensus on several important matters affecting future infrastructure plans for Wake County.”
He said the agreements include:
• That the county has the capacity to fund a notable amount ($7 billion) of public infrastructure in the future with its current tax structure.
• That cost containment of infrastructure projects should be vigorously examined prior to implementing additional revenue strategies.
• That the property tax system should be reformed to have revaluations done every four (rather than eight) years, and commissioners should maintain the property tax rate after revaluations. This change will allow property tax revenues to better keep up with rising construction costs associated with future infrastructure projects.
• That the state be urged to modernize its distribution formula for highway revenues to give a greater share to counties like Wake with high traffic demands.
• That toll roads be used to fund some of the county's road construction needs, provided the toll revenues are dedicated to specific projects and do not
replace existing funds.
• That if new tax revenues are deemed necessary, the first choice be a 1 percent local sales tax, with revenues dedicated to public school construction and transportation.
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