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N.C. Opinions: Lenoir

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Picking your pocket

From an editorial in the (Lenoir) News-Topic:

The leaders of the General Assembly like to brag that they have cut taxes. What they hope you won’t notice is that over the past few years they have gradually ramped up the pressure on local governments to raise property taxes.

The legislature had barely convened last month before it rammed through a measure to eliminate business privilege license taxes, an entirely local tax with no effect on the state budget, potentially costing municipalities $62 million a year once the law takes effect in 2015.

Last week we learned that officials from N.C. counties gathered in Raleigh to ask legislators to please stop sucking up ever-larger portions of lottery revenue. When the lottery was first created, a state law mandated that 40 percent of its proceeds be sent to counties for school construction, and as recently as fiscal 2009-10 that amount was being distributed. But every year since then, counties have received less – down to 20.7 percent in the current fiscal year, according to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and a press release from Caldwell County.

And, of course, last year legislators did away with the law mandating the amount of lottery money that should be sent to schools.

Additionally, the state Senate has proposed eliminating state funding for teacher assistants in second and third grades, which Senate leaders say local officials could “choose” to keep funding with local money – you know, that money from the magic pot that keeps on giving.

All of these changes are going to hit you where it hurts. Either the services of your local governments and schools are going to have to be cut, or your property taxes are going to have to be raised. That appears to be what state legislators want. Do you?

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