by Sam Hieb
In yesterday’s Sunday lead editorial, the Charlotte Observer says citizens should vote against the proposed sales tax hike on the November ballot:
There should be little doubt that a robust arts scene and parks system are vital to our thriving city and county. There also is little question that arts organizations in Charlotte are threatened by private fundraising issues, and that our parks need more public money to reach their potential.
That’s why a more challenging question faces Mecklenburg voters this November: Should the county raise the sales tax a quarter-cent to fund the arts and parks along with some public school needs? Revenue from such a tax hike would raise about $50 million a year, with $22.5 million (about 45 percent) going to the arts, $17 million going to parks and recreation, $8 million to education and $2.5 million to arts, culture projects and parks in county’s small towns.
Those millions would be, quite simply, a game changer for arts and parks. But for reasons this editorial board has noted before, plus some new considerations, we believe a sales tax increase is the wrong way to do the right thing.
Fair enough, except for one interesting bit of logic: the Observer worries that”that raising the sales tax now would limit the Charlotte City Council’s capacity to do the same for critical projects such as a light rail line from west to south Charlotte.” Okaaay. Just keep in mind– Observer and everyone else–that 99 percent of North Carolinians don’t take public transit to work.