Yesterday’s Pilot reports Moore, Chatham, and Orange Counties are joining together to request new local taxing options as alternative sources of revenue to existing sales and property taxes. It is hoped that three counties working together and which happen to be represented at least partially by the Speaker will be more effective in bringing fairness and consistency to taxing authority for all 100 NC counties.
An important element of these resolutions is that the counties are asking to have these options so they can put them up for referendum. This is an important distinction, because if the legislature is to deny these options, they are saying they know better than the voters do about how the people would choose to be taxed. Of course, would also be saying, in not so many words, they desperately need the money that flows from the homebuilder and real estate lobbies. If we're talking about referendums, there should be no need for the Legislature to act to “protect” people from their county governments.
Allowing county voters the flexibility to decide what fits best for themselves is not only a matter of fairness, it diminishes the buying power of the builders and real estate brokers. They would no longer be able to just buy some legislators in Raleigh; they’d have to buy county commissioners in every county.
While we can argue all day about which option among transfer fees, impact fees, sales taxes, etc. are better or worse ways to fund government, hopefully we all agree that 100 counties have 100 different individual situations and that less power centralized in Raleigh means more control of our own destinies at the local level.