John Locke Update / Research Newsletter (Archive)

Watauga County’s Proposed Tax Increase

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Greetings from Raleigh!

I got the rain I wished for in last week’s newsletter. In fact, we had a real soaker yesterday. Now it’s time to cut the grass.

I have three items for your consideration this week.

1. After building the most expensive high school ever built in North Carolina, $17 million more than a comparable high school in Wake County, commissioners in Watauga County want a $1.9 million tax increase. Voters will decide Aug. 31 if county commissioners can be trusted to spend $1.9 million more of their money wisely or if they will continue their penchant for extravagant spending. Read the new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief on the issue, "Boone-Doggle: Watauga County’s proposed $1.9 million tax increase."

2. I am sure you have heard about California’s state and local government budget crisis. In Oakland, the city council is balancing the budget by cutting department budgets, including cutting 80 police officers from the 776-officer police force.

He [Police Chief Anthony Batts] has announced that his department will no longer respond to citizen calls on 44 criminal and noncriminal matters typically handled by the police, including grand theft, burglary, embezzlement and auto accidents.

The city council refused to give in to this threat and

…voted to hire a private security firm, International Services Inc., to patrol high-crime areas. Four private patrolmen will cost the city about $200,000 a year — a fifth of what four city police officers would cost.

That’s right, police officers’ average pay and benefits total about $250,000 per year. Read Florida State University Professor Bruce Benson’s full account here. He is author of "To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice."

3. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) brings in $4.4 million by selling excess land. Selling unneeded land not only boosts state coffers, it also provides a benefit for local government.

Selling excess property not only brings in money for MoDOT, Wood said. "It benefits local public agencies that then maximize their tax revenue to provide local services, whether it’s for schools, fire departments or police."


Michael Sanera is Director of Research and Local Government Studies at the John Locke Foundation. He served as a policy analyst for the Washington, DC based The Heritage Foundation, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the California based Claremont Institute. ...

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