Counties and towns are a critical level of government in North Carolina, providing or administering many critical services while taking in billions of dollars of revenue. This is especially true as the state government has increasingly shifted more taxing authority to localities to make up for money kept by the state. While the importance of county and municipal government is great, obtaining comparative data is difficult. To help address this, By the Numbers 2004 provides information on how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.