Top <strike>10</strike> 11 Reasons for a local Luxury Tax

Guest Post by Roland Giduz

To: Chapel Hill Town Council
From: Roland Giduz, local citizen
In re: Council's Legislative Agenda

  1. A luxury tax is the fairest possible of all revenue measures
  2. A modest percentage or dollar (ex.: $1) tax on a luxury such as high-priced entertainment tickets is an OPTIONAL tax that nobody is required to pay, as they are the taxes on the necessities of life, such as property and sales taxes.
  3. Similar luxury taxes have been in effect in many municipalities, including some that house public universities for many years.
  4. Local enabling acts have been considered and enacted (Greensboro) in North Carolina for many years.
  5. Chapel Hill has several times previously requested this legislation and needs it more now than ever before.
  6. It will in no way adversely affect high-priced entertainment ticket sales in Chapel Hill. Proof: The price on these tickets is necessarily and understandably increased every few years, and the sale of these tickets is still on a seller's market – more than ever this year.
  7. This proposed tax, if imposed only on high-priced tickets, (Ex.: $35 up) would not adversely affect sales of scholastic and cultural event tickets (which could be exempted)
  8. If the revenue were designated for the Chapel Hill Transit System, as it has been in previously legislation, it would relieve the financial obligation on both the University and the Town.
  9. Opposition to this proposal is based purely on opposition to taxes – understandable but not a valid reason.
  10. The state has imposed a 3% luxury tax (that goes into the NC General Fund) for more than 60 years, and this modest levy, so well established, does not affect ticket sales in NC vis a vis other states.
  11. This enabling act has precedent, is consummately fair, and will be enacted if the Council actively supports it.

Roland Giduz is a former member of the Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen and a columnist for the Chapel Hill Herald.



Reason #12:

It will make people realize what they are buying is a luxury and not a need.

Unfortunately, and please correct me if I'm wrong, it's the legislature holding us back on this one. Town Council has petitioned them multiple times for permission to hold a luxury tax, and every time, largely because the University opposes it, we are denied. Other towns in NC (i.e. Greensboro) are allowed to impose a luxury tax, why not Chapel Hill?

As a frequent attendant of UNC sporting events, I have no problem with this fee. Even those times I drag my parents out to a game and pay for their tickets, a couple of extra bucks lumped on to reinvest in my community aren't going to kill me. (Though, I can't say I've ever paid more than $35 for tickets.)

Seems like a reasonable proposal to me to offset some of the expenses associated with these events. As others have pointed out, many towns and cities have done the same thing.

But it's a slippery slope, croatoan, when we justify taxes as a way to "punish" people for buying "luxury" goods. After all, do we really *need* espresso drinks? Internet access? You get the point.

Errr. For some of us espresso and Internet access are essential and non-negotiable requirements for a basic quality life!
I must be wired and wireless!
Speak not of those as luxuries!


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