Guest Post by Anita Badrock
Amendment One is on the ballot for consideration by NC Voters. It allows local municipalities to issue "self financing bonds" (also known as TIF's--"tax incremental funding") without taxpayer approval. NC is one of only two states that does not currently allow this type of bond to be issued. The amendment has created some unlikely local allies---those in favor of the amendment include Mayor Foy and the Town Council, former Republican governor Jim Martin, former Democratic governor Jim Hunt, and the local Chambers of Commerce. Those opposed include the conservative John Locke Society, the Common Sense Foundation, the Libertarian Party of NC, and our own Dan Coleman.
If Amendment One passes, local governments would be allowed to create special development districts, then issue bonds without voter approval to pay for improvements in these districts Ã¢â‚¬â€ such as streets, water and sewer service and sidewalks Ã¢â‚¬â€ to attract developers.
Theoretically, the resulting land development would raise property values to the point where the bonds would end up paying for themselves --the taxes collected on the difference between the tax value of the property prior to improvement versus the tax value after improvement would be used to pay off the bonds. That is why proponents of the amendment call them "self-financing bonds."
Proponents argue that Amendment One will allow more flexibility to local governments to respond quickly to opportunities that arise. Additionally, local municipalities can steer development into areas it deems more appropriate by offering developers this type of public-private partnership.
Opponents state that this type of funding encumbers taxpayers for a debt they did not approve. They also charge that the benefits have been overstated and that TIF's take away money from needed municipal improvements and offer businesses "corporate welfare" for development projects.
Locally, there are a number of proposals on the table that could benefit from this type of bond--for example, the proposed Arts Center complex and the development of Parking Lots 2 and 5.
There are a number of websites with information about Amendment One , among them
What are your thoughts about this important proposal to amend our State's Constitution?
Anita Badrock is a 25 year resident of Chapel Hill, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. She works as a local recruiter and volunteers with a number of different local organizations.