Losers of the week: The NC Senate and the NC Association of Realtors
The NC Senate is rapidly becoming indistinguishable from Rodney Dangerfield in the respect department. First Mike Easley slams the chamber for being in the pocket of special interests, and so does the Wilmington Star on its editorial page.
Now you know who most North Carolina state senators represent. It isn't property taxpayers. If it were, a majority of the Honorables would let local voters decide whether to increase a tiny one-time tax on land sales to pay for the schools, sewers, water systems, law enforcement and other basic services that growth requires.
The most likely alternative to that tax on property sales is higher property taxes - taxes that every property owner pays every year, whether or not he or she benefits significantly from growth.
People who do benefit significantly, such as real-estate agents and contractors, have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on "campaign contributions," lobbying and deceptive political ads. Their goal is to prevent local voters from choosing how to raise money to pay for local needs.
The campaign against what opponents cleverly call the "home tax" succeeded in the Senate. In a secret meeting, the Democrats who dominate that body gave in to pressure.
In one fell swoop, the reputation of two institutions have been dirtied by the realtors' involvement in the transfer tax issue. The Senate is revealed to be a bunch of lemmings at best, and prostitutes at worst. And Tim Kent has tarnished the Realtor brand in North Carolina for years to come.
It so stupid it's almost funny, but not quite. The truth is, it's a sad commentary on how politics gets done in our esteemed General Assembly. All I can say is, "Thank god for Joe Hackney."
Update: Chris at NC Policy Watch weighs in on the same topic, adding Dallas Woodho and the NC Chapter of Americans for Progress to his list of skewered targets. Nice job, Chris.