Get ready northern Orange County. The liberal elites who control the Orange County commission are pushing yet another tax hike. This one’s not a new idea — it’s a half-cent sales tax hike to fund rail, and it will most likely be put before voters in November. This week’s meeting on the transit tax comes just six weeks after Orange County’s quarter-cent sales tax hike went info effect, and just a couple weeks following comments about the possibility of a property tax hike as well.
Add it up and the conclusion is inescapable: the leftists who run the county will never be satisfied with the current level of taxation (and tax relief is unfathomable to them) or the level of government control and power over Orange residents. Their quest for other people’s money is simply insatiable.
It appears that only one commissioner is opposed to the transit plan and associated sales tax hike.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners is expected Tuesday to approve a $1.4 billion light-rail project for Durham and Orange counties and vote June 5 on a half-cent sales tax to fund the controversial transit plan.
“I think we have a majority of the board” that favors putting the issue before voters on a Nov. 8 ballot referendum, Chairwoman Bernadette Pelissier said May 4, a day after the commissioners met in work session to further refine a draft cost-sharing agreement with Durham County and Triangle Transit Authority.
“We vote on the transit plan and then it’s up to the public to tell us whether or not they want to do this,” Pelissier said, acknowledging there will be differences of opinion among voters.
But what Pelissier called a historic “tension between urban and rural Orange County” guarantees the vote will not be unanimous.
“I do not believe we have the population density, nor do I believe we have the tax base to support [light rail],” Commissioner Earl McKee said. “I don’t think that it is the best plan for the current conditions. I think we need to look at expanding bus systems.”
“This plan focuses the great majority of the funds to a light rail system that will serve a very small percentage of residents of Orange County and an equally small percentage of the geography of Orange County,” McKee said.