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A Fact Sheet Summary about the Wake County Commission

 

  • Did you know that Wake County Commissioners just increased your taxes by 3.25%?

 

  • Did you know that while they increased your taxes, they also increased their own compensation by 64%? Did you know that Wake County Commissioners have also demanded pensions?

 

  • Did you know that our county manager asked for a 2.5% increase in property taxes this year? But that Wake County Commissioners increased our taxes by a much larger percentage, by 3.25%?  

 

  • Did you know that when property taxes go up it hurts not only homeowners, but also everyone who rents? If taxes go up, rents go up. If landlords’ expenses go up, rents go up.

 

  • Did you know that our county is $2.4 billion in debt and spends more than $300 million annually to service this debt?

 

  • Did you know that out of $2.4 billion of debt, $754 million, or more than 30%, is debt that was NOT APPROVED BY VOTERS and was authorized only by Wake County Commissioners?

 

  • Did you know that Wake County Commissioners increased our property taxes 7 times in the past 10 years?

 

  • Did you know that Wake County Commissioners want to build a bike lane along I-40 between Raleigh and Durham? Did you also know that they paid $5 million for the design work? Did you know that they gave $500k to Durham County for their part of the design work? Wake County taxpayers are subsidizing Durham County.

 

  • Did you know that Wake County Commissioners want to build a Commuter Rail? Did you know that it will NOT stop at the airport? Did you know that this project was originally estimated to cost between $1.4 billion and $2.1 billion?Did you also know that, according to WRAL, the current projected cost is already estimated at $3.2 billion? I am curious how the Wake County government suggests we pay for this increase? I assume they plan to either increase our taxes even more or borrow more money … which will increase our taxes even more. 

  • Did you know that the annual operating cost was originally estimated at $29 million? Did you also know that, while the project has not yet been approved, the current estimated operating cost is already $42 million?

Action we need to take

 

  • We should proactively ensure that the tax burden on Wake County residents is reasonable.  That is not merely a function of tax rates, but also of property values.  We need to be mindful of both, and reduce rates when property values rise materially.

 

  • We should take action on housing affordability by loosening unnecessary restrictions on development.  Housing prices are a function of the simple economics of supply and demand.  Forcing developers to underprice units or forcing landlords to underprice rentals does not solve the problem.  More supply solves the problem, and it’s where the Commission should focus its efforts.

 

  • We should work to actively reduce the county’s debt burden.  The county’s budget is already over $1.7 billion, and roughly a fifth of it goes to debt service.  The more money gets sucked into servicing debt, the less there is to service residents.

 

  • We should actively evaluate whether the money we spend is returning a sufficient benefit to residents.  A tax base should always be viewed as finite, and if programs are not delivering value, then they should be cut and replaced with programs that do.

  • We should actively shift the focus from how to grow the revenue base to how to control the growth of expenses.  Growing the revenue base is simply bureaucratic jargon for raising taxes

Taxes

I am from the Reagan school of thought.  There is nothing quite so frightening, or quite so expensive, as government trying to help.  Government should be engaged in only those things at which it is best qualified.  That is very few things.  Wake County should keep residents safe and secure, ensure that development is reasonable and supported, and see to it that children are well educated, and it should do so with as little money as possible.

 

Managing the county budget requires discipline and vigilance. Government should treat every dollar out of the door like it’s precious – because it’s ours. When it doesn’t have that dollar, it should be even more careful.  Bonds are not magic, and just like credit cards, they eventually must be paid.  That inevitably comes back to residents’ pocketbooks. 

 

Government should also be extremely transparent and honest with residents and keep them apprised of how their money is spent.  County finances should not be a mystery to residents.