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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