By a General Assembly vote of 72-41 CATS gets millions in new borrowing authority and just-hiked Charlotte city property taxes will directly subsidize the $158 million Wachovia arts tower. Good night, thanks for playing Democracy in North Carolina. Better luck next time.

Oh, there’s few interesting details such as state reps Doug Vinson and Ed McMahan totally falling for the idea that Wachovia would up and move its headquaters unless the bank got its publicly-subsidized arts complex. If this argument was actually made by someone — Who? Lee Keesler? Pat Mumford? Who? — they should be ashamed of themselves.

Not much more to say. As I’ve said for weeks, this scam is worse than the Uptown arena deal. It gives CATS at least $100 million a year to spend on dubious rail projects just at the very moment when it might, might be forced to share some of the $50 million a year in sales tax money with road projects. And the deal takes scarce Charlotte city general revenue money and spends it directly on arts projects that were supposed to pay for themselves.

As a result, the June 2001 public vote against the Uptown arena and arts complex package now stands totally reversed. With a $150 million NASCAR Hall of Fame/Convention Center expansion to boot.

Tell me again who won that vote?