As local elected officials continue their search for new revenue, don’t be surprised if the “home tax” is placed on the ballot this year. So far, the home tax has been soundly defeated every time it’s been voted on; the record is 24 to nothing. In this Carolina Journal story, Tim Kent, former executive vice president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors, discusses the multi-year effort to defeat the tax, including what happened in Orange County in 2008.
While Avery County’s vote was the most suspenseful, Orange County’s May 2008 vote was the most challenging for Kent. The hotly contested Democratic presidential primary pushed turnout among Chapel Hill’s college students and other young people — people who don’t typically own property — to an unusually high level.
Orange County’s progressive political establishment was also out in force. “The university community was actively working in support of the land transfer tax, the county commissioners in Orange County appropriated $100,000 as part of a public information campaign, so it was a very challenging political environment,” he recalled. Despite it all, Orange County voters defeated the referendum 66 percent to 34 percent.