Proud progressive Gene Nichol, who now heads the UNC poverty group John Edwards used as his home base to run for president, told Orange County commissioners they should take heed of the economic divide in the county.
“I’d ask, ‘what is this measure going to do, one way or the other, to and for those in the bottom third, economically, in Orange County?’” said Nichol. “If it helps them, I’m apt to be for it. If it piles more on top of them, I’m inclined to be against it. Things are already hard enough and bad enough. They are skewed dramatically. I’d want to make sure that on my watch, Orange County, North Carolina didn’t actually become the most economically polarized community in America.
I agree with Nichol in this regard: they should take heed. That said, commissioners are starting work on the new budget, and we already know it is likely to include a property tax rate hike. That hike will take more money out of the wallets of county families, who are also set to be buried further by the county’s half-cent sales tax hike for transit that goes into effect in April. The transit tax hike follows a quarter-cent sales tax hike that took effect last year. Both sales tax hikes were approved by the voting public, which is dominated by the very same people who profess to be concerned about struggling families not having enough money to care for themselves.
Does anyone who has watched the liberal elite on the county commission really think they’ll ever acknowledge their role in the problem? Will they ever do anything to help the poor other than to grow government? If they want to help the poor move into the middle class, commissioners would focus on fostering economic growth, which comes with a broader employment base, which comes with lower taxes and a government that is friendly to business.