by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Wake County is on the cusp of a fourth consecutive property tax increase. As The News & Observer has reported, with annual property tax increases going back to 2014, Wake County has increased school budgets by $100 million, and this $30 million increase will push county per-pupil spending to all-time highs, even adjusted for inflation.
School officials are saying it’s not even close to what they need, that they’re on a “subsistence budget.”
There are other big-budget wants in the nearly 3 percent increase proposed for this year, including (rather ironically) “affordable housing,” but suffice it to say, these budgetary tensions aren’t going away any time soon. It would be a fool’s hope for some semblance of concern for Wake County taxpayers from county commissioners as long as they are secure in the expectation that they will maintain a liberal/left supermajority.
All that being the case, I was gobsmacked when I read in WRAL that the incentives package to bring Apple to North Carolina “includes 30 years of property tax abatements from Wake County.”
They’re trying to raise property taxes on county residents for the fourth year running — but they want to give Apple 30 years of property tax abatements?
Thirty years? Thirty? That’s a full mortgage term for most people!
Why? Get a load of this:
“They want 30 years of stability,” one source said.
Apple wants “30 years of stability”? So do the rest of us! At this point, three years of property tax stability would give Wake County residents a little breathing room.
And is Wake County a stagnant backwater in such dire need of some employer, any employer, that it maybe should consider such an enormous concession, regardless of how frequently they’ve hit up residents for more and more taxes? Absolutely not. It’s one of the fastest growing counties in the United States.
Wake County residents I’m sure will be happy to make room for Apple, but they shouldn’t have to cover Apple’s property taxes as their own taxes keep rising, let alone do so for three whole decades. Wake County’s leaders should tell Apple come on in, but you can worry about stability like the rest of county property owners.