Mark Harris campaigns, greets voters on Election Day
Despite its lack of major races at the top of the ballot, Tuesday’s midterm election will change the balance of political power in Mecklenburg County, alter the state constitution and could affect what you pay in taxes.
Here are a half-dozen ways life had changed by the time you woke up Wednesday morning.
Democrats take over Mecklenburg board
The three Republicans who held minority seats on the nine-member board were swept away by Democrats who surged to wins in the nation’s urban and suburban communities. They’ll take office in December. County commissioners control a $1.7 billion budget, fund Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and set property tax rates, including new rates next year that will be based on a property revaluation.
Constitutional change caps taxes
Voters lowered the cap on the state income tax from 10 percent to 7 percent (it’s now 5.499 percent). The new maximum rate takes effect Jan. 1. Republican legislators say the cap will put more money in residents’ pockets. Local government officials have predicted the cap will add to pressure on local budgets and limit the state’s ability to respond to crises.
Voters will need ID
The legislation behind this constitutional amendment says voters will have to “present photographic identification,” effective when Tuesday’s election results are certified. Which forms of ID will be acceptable, and possible exceptions to the requirement, will be decided by the Republican-led legislature.
Governor has more veto clout
Democrats ousted enough Republican lawmakers to break their “supermajority” in the state House, which has allowed the GOP to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes since he took office in 2017. An example: Override votes last year negated Cooper’s veto of a bill to list the political party of candidates in local judgeship races.
City has more money for affordable housing, transportation
The $50 million for affordable housing, among three bond issues approved for the city of Charlotte, will more than triple what the city typically raises for its Housing Trust Fund. Rising home prices and rent have made it harder for low-income people to find housing. A $118 million issue will pay for new roads west of the airport and 10 miles a year of new sidewalks and bike lanes.
Charlotte loses GOP legislative influence
While Republicans maintained firm control over North Carolina’s Senate and House, they’re likely to get less support from the Charlotte area. Mecklenburg County Republican Sen. Jeff Tarte and Reps. Andy Dulin, Scott Stone and John Bradford all trailed Democrats in unofficial results. Republican Sen. Dan Bishop and Rep. Bill Brawley held leads.