A new day?

The Orange County Board of Commissioners will place a 1/4 cent sales tax on the ballot this November. Revenues generated from the tax, which is expected to raise $2.3M annually, will be allocated for economic development (42.5%), repairing older school buildings (42.5%), public safety (15%). The tax will not be applied to food or pharmaceuticals.

Of the $977,500 expected to be raised for economic development, the county manager has proposed that 30% ($293,500) go to building infrastructure within the economic development zones and 15% ($146,625) go to a small business loan fund such as the one Carrboro initiated many years ago. I haven't seen anything designating the use for the remaining $439,875 (55%) other than a report in the CH Herald about the need to offer incentives.

When we go to polls in November, we will not be voting just for the new sales tax, but also for this allocation plan. Can you support it? Does this plan signal a new day to you?

Questions that I'm interested in having discussed are is 30% enough to build the needed infrastructure in less than 10 years? How should the other 55% be spent (I am totally opposed to incentives)?



Every tax that local governments raise on an already strapped populace, enables the U.S. military machine to keep stealing our tax money. People need to understand that it is the War Machine that is the cause of our financial problems.

Yep, you are right  - so what do you answer - no to everything until there is no war?

It's the only way that people will understand the root of the problem.  In effect, raising local taxes damps down anti-war sentiment. We need an awakening to the widespread ill effects of war.

I disagree Mark. We've got 20+ years of history of ignoring
commercial/business development in Orange County. Elected officials
have set back and assumed we could live on property taxes alone. None
of our locally generated tax money goes to the war effort. Our personal
income tax does and our state and federal tax may, but locally
generated revenues don't unless you are considering opportunity cost.If
you choose to vote no to this tax, I don't think it will make one whit
of difference to the federal budget, but it could have a major impact
on Orange County residents.

Terri - maybe you should rephrase your statement to read: "None of the tax money we pay to local governments goes to the war efforts." However, about $2600 on average is spent on the military for every citizen of the U.S. I know that you, like most of us who live here, are not the kind of person who is in favor of drones operated from bunkers in New Mexico killing innocent people in Afghanistan or putting young people in hellish situations that result in more suicides than combat deaths. It's not a strecth to look holistically at our tax revenues and think about effective distribution.On "ignoring economic development" - we hear that all the time as a Chamber talking point, but it just doesn't square with the facts. It's obviously a big discussion, but economic development has occurred (maybe not the sprawling North Raleigh or Durham type - are they lowering taxes in Wake & Durham?) within some different parameters. Too many economic ventures to name in just the past ten years. Why does Roger Perry choose to pursue large developments here? Is it because he likes the challenge of doing business in a place where, according to the Chamber's hyperventilations, the policies are designed to discourage business?  

If you build an economy on housing and retail sales, you get what we've got: high-end development that is pushing long-term middle and low income residents out of the county and an unreliable income stream. Thriving economies are diverse. They do not put all of their eggs in one basket as Orange has done with real estate. Orange County for all of it's claims of progressiveness has more recently put an emphasis on retail, but that just buys into the material culture. I'm 100% behind the new food processing plant and hope to see more of that kind of investment with this new tax revenue. 

The cries for finally having actual "economic development" in Orange County almost sound faith-based. What county has the appropriate economic development/taxation model that is being called for? One qualification - it has to be a place where  healthy people would want to live.

Funny, a tax to help businesses who are the one selling you the things that are taxed? Seems it would be more straight forward if those businesses just raised their prices!

This is usually called "price fixing" and is illegal. But that is why we have a govenment I guess, to legitamitize the illigitamate.

And I agree with Marc, although these taxes do not go directly to war causes, they help prop up the fundamental driving force of war, which is capitalism. And the public schools are nothing more than capitalist-jihadist training camps. More business = more need for oil = more wars in foreign lands.


Why are we looking to levy a new tax if we don't know what it will be used for? I'd like to see Orange County make a push to collect more business tax by being more business friendly. I wasn't going to vote until I saw this on the ballot.  Now I'm going to vote against it.  There's just no need for it now. 

After all the the discussion from Orange County citizens about our runaway property tax growth in the past few years and what a burden this growth puts on the middle and lower class, all I hear from our commissioners is how can we spend this money. They know we have a huge problem in the growth of the share of total revenues that property tax generates. Nowhere have i heard anyone say that maybe we should use this money for property tax relief rather than just inventing new ways to spend it. Even though I think we need to spread the tax burden using things like sales tax, increased impact fees, transfer tax, I can't support a sales tax until they take a good hard look at property tax relief. I don't think grabbing new revenue and just spending it is good policy in these economic times.

Oh yes.  Business will certainly be helped by having higher sales taxes.  I'm sure customers will flock to our local businesses after having the opportunity to pay MORE in sales tax....

I don't understand the logic of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot one-two years before the regional sales tax increase to fund public transit is scheduled to come up.  It doesn't make sense to me, as these types of sales tax increases aren't terribly popular to start with.  Having two sales tax increases in a row just doesn't seem likely.

Maybe the elected leaders are counting on winning ONLY one of these votes. The tax for public transit is more for you city folks and Durham/Wake County vs. us in the rural area.

Maintenance on older school buildings is a huge need. When new construction for any publicly owned buildings is financed, it should include 10 years (at least) of maintenance costs IMHO. Otherwise we get into the place where we are now--needing new schools to accommodate all the growth but not having enough funding to build new and take care of the old. For anyone who rides the buses regularly, it's pretty clearly a problem with transit too. At some point we have to take care of what we have instead of always getting new stuff. If we want to take care of the old AND get new stuff, then we need economic development. I understanding people saying no to more taxes, but to me, this vote is about choices. Do you want children going to school in mold-ridden buildings? Do you think we need to add new sources of revenue to the county budget in order to reduce the property tax burden? The choice seems pretty clear to me. I will vote yes for this proposal, but I would like to see the allocations spelled out in more detail.

The transit tax referendum is likely to be Fall 2011. Wake and Orange decided not to vote on a general sales tax before that. The transit tax vote can be in one, two, or all three of the counties.

I'm told the NC Education Lottery $ can only be used for "buildings and facilites" (not what a lot of people thought the lottery money was for).  If that's the case why would any tax referendum $ need to be used in that regard?  Also, why is the county government using $ to "educate" the county residents about the upcoming tax referendum?  Wouldn't that money be used better in a different way?


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