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The November 7 election could be a big win for Wake County Democrats. And it could dump a big problem into their laps.

Assume two things:

  • The school bond issue loses.

  • Democrats take control of the county commissioners.

First task for the Democrats will be figuring how to pay for more schools.

The Democrats I talk to tell me the solution is simple: impact fees. They say voters love the idea of imposing impact fees on developers.

But the WRAL/News & Observer poll raises a caution flag.

It asked the question this way: “Would you favor or oppose a countywide impact fee on new home construction that could add $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of a new home?”

Framed that way, 59 opposed impact fees, and only 27 percent favored it.

Also, no method of raising money for the schools won a majority in the poll:

  • A half-cent increase in the local sales tax is supported by 43 percent and opposed by 47 percent;

  • 39 percent favor a real estate transfer tax is opposed by 39 percent and opposed by 55 percent.

If Democrats push for impact fees and higher sales taxes in 2007, will they lose their majority in 2008? And will the issue spill over into Raleigh City Council races in 2007?

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3 comments on “A Taxing Question for Wake Democrats

  1. grassrootsseeds says:

    Gary’s comments make at least one major assumtption that is flawed. That it that the Democrats take control of the County Commission. In fact, the Democrats already control the Wake County Board of Commissioners. The agenda is a Democrat liberal agenda that cnters on expanding the size of county government and the number and size of county funded programs. Three of the registered Republicans, one of whom is not running for reelection so we will not discuss him, led by Tony Gurley and Joe Bryan do not vote as Republicans and they have represented the Democrats agenda better than the Democrats have done. Let’s examine a few cases in point here.

    The Commisioners have been strongly asking for the ability to increase the County sales tax by 1/2% to fund their projects. One of the projects they wish to fund is a greatly expanded county mental health program to fill the void left by the state when Dorthea Dix closes. Without debating the merits of mental health needs, we have a clear agenda to expand county government and spending. Throughout the past four years Commissioners, led to a large extent by so called Republicans Gurley and Bryan, have rubber stamped requests from County Departments without all of the facts or indepth study. Betty Lou Ward always chimes in to say that the staff must be allowed to do their job without undue interference by the Commissioners.

    The Commissioners have now come out in favor, or so it seems, of shortening the time between home valuations. This by itself is really not a problem but they seem to be indicating tyhey wish to do without the zero based budgeting that adjusts the rate to avoid huge tax increases. They have, of course, put these decisions off until after the election a decision that shows cowardice. Clearly if their intent is to revalue and allow the rate to same to the same resulting in some property tax bills to increase by thousands they do not want to own up to this before facing the voters. They hope given 4 years to forget that they can stay in office and even perhaps get relected in 2010.

    The Commissioners refused to seriously reconsider the land fill issue in Holly Springs relying instead on an outdate agreement and “facts” from staff that have always been questionable. The will of the people in the town effected meant nothing to the majority only a set of numbers and the desire to capitulate to staff and avoid the real study of the humbers. Afterall, Holly Springs is not big enough to defeat them in November. When Gurley and Bryan tried to claim they supported Holly Springs no serious effort was ever made to male a change.

    As for the school bond the Commissioners support the bond rather than show political or practical courage to force the school system to correct its problems and take responsibility for their actions. The reason the school bonds will fail is quite simply that the school board and system do not deserve the money. They do jot deserve the public’s trust because quite simply they have been dishonest and have not earned it. They refuse to consider alterantives, they refuse to look at the overspending for school construction (the schools can be built more than adequately for say 30% less), they refuse to reduce the administrative costs and beauracracy to get more of the money into the classrooms actually educating students, they refuse to even accept that a lack of long term planning has run up costs even more, they deny that too much of the expenditures for the bond money will not spent on new classroom space, and they refuse to accept any responsinbility for being good stewards of the public’s money when it comes to spending more and more on illegals clealry against the wishes of the taxpayers. These, and other, factors coupled with dishonesty about the need for even more money over the next ten years that will bring on huge tax increases is simply bad politics and bad government.

    So, you see, the current Board led by Gurley and Bryan is already a Democrat controlled Board. Just because one registers Republican does not make him Republican. Remeber what they say – if its looks like a duck and quacks like a Duck it must be a Duck.

  2. John Burns says:

    “Would you favor or oppose a countywide impact fee on new home construction that could add $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of a new home?”

    This question is so badly worded it could be an exhibit in a polling class for how not to ask questions.

    First of all, what size house? Who would have to pay? Is there a restriction on who has to pay? Is there any proof that an impact fee would add such a charge to the cost of ANY house? The average house? The median house?

    Stupid question, worded to elicit the response it got.

    If you ask people if new development should include a fee to offset infrastructure costs, they say yes.

    The case in Durham, by the way, proved that such fees are NOT passed along to customers. Otherwise the builders in Durham would be refunding the money they just collected from the County. Right?

  3. grassrootsseeds says:

    Impact fees are always passed along to home buyers. A builders looks at his total costs before pricing a home. People who think that impact fees are a gppd idea simply do not understand the economics of homebuilding. Builders and developers pay a tremedous amount of fees and taxes already. There is no step in the process that does not require a fee. And, taxes are colleted at all steps too. New development does not pay for itself due to government inefficiency and waste not due to a lack of funding from the developers and builders. There has been so much study done on this topic that anyone who cares and who is willing to view the data from all sources, not just biased sources who wish to get new fees, can learn the truth of the matter.

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