June 4, 2005
Open Letter to Parks Helms
Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 3:36 PM
In light of your sudden interest in comparing Mecklenburg's tax burden to that of other counties, we just wanted to say "Hi," we're the John Locke Foundation and this is what we do.
In fact, we did the very same number crunching you recently directed your staff to do way back in January in the report By The Numbers: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties. We found exactly the same thing that your staff did -- that Mecklenburg far outstrips other urban counites in the state in local tax burden.
There is a tiny bit of confusion about the total numbers. Your per capita numbers seem a little low, at 2.72 percent of income or $1,064 per year. We got 2.96 percent and $1,139 respectively. Still, both findings are far above the state median of 2.16 percent and $515 and several steps north of both Wake and Guilford counties. And that assumes we are defining taxes and fees the same way, and that may not be the case.
Anyway, we also note that it evidently required a phone call from an offical at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce for you to pull this info together. Our report is available 24/7 to anyone who wants it, and you do not even have to a be a highly-connected insider to get it. In the future, feel free to direct calls on this topic to the Locke Foundation and you'll avoid making your staff duplicate the work we've already done.
We think you'll also have to agree that the data is unmistakable -- Mecklenburg's tax appetite tops that of other similar counties and shows no signs of slowing down.
Posted by Hal Young at 2:14 PM
Like John, I like headlines, too, especially when their proximity on the page has unintended messages.
For example, the two big headlines on page 10A of The Smithfield Herald yesterday relate to an environmental incident and an ad for new subscribers to receive a promotional coffee mug. A quick glance at the page sees:
Sewage Spills Near Selma
Have A Cup On Us!
It's like "found poetry".
Re: Studying tip from China
Posted by Hal Young at 1:55 PM
This reminded me of Demosthenes, who talked with pebbles in his mouth and recited verses while running along the seashore over the roar of the waves to overcome a speech impediment. Lacking an ocean (will the spillway at Falls Lake Dam suffice?), the Beltline may work.
As far as studying in China, per se I think you'd have to be able to concentrate in a room full of people who want to pat you on the head. At least that's how our students (ages 15 and under) were treated.
We were told Confucius wrote a famous essay on "How to Study" but I haven't read it yet.
"Certain lies are good" — the Dan Rather story
Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:10 AM(Ref.: "Certain lies are good")
Dan Rather reiterated to CNN's Larry King on Thursday night that he believes the memos, in his National Guard hit piece on President Bush, were genuine. Rather emphasized how "the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had" and were "supported by all kind of things other than the documents." When King wondered, "so, are you saying the story might be correct?", Rather replied: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view."
Q.v. Rather's "prudent person," below:
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