by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Wake County Taxpayers Association submitted the following news release this morning:
At 10:00AM on September 8, 2011 WCTA will file suit in Superior Court against the City of Raleigh(City) alleging the City has improperly rejected a petition from the citizens of Raleigh. The petition asks that a referendum seek approval of the voters to amend the City Charter to require all new debt financing by the City be approved by the voters.
The City has accumulated more than $420 million of debt not approved by the voters, and had intended to issue approximately $750 million more without seeking voter approval. Such actions by City Council are largely responsible for Raleigh’s high debt servicing costs.
The Wake County Taxpayers Association will file the suit in Superior Court (date) against the City of Raleigh in an effort to require the City to follow the law before incurring public debt. WCTA contends the city has thwarted the NC Constitution and state law. WCTA is attempting to require the City to conduct a referendum in accordance with a petition signed by City taxpayers.
On April 5, 2011, the WCTA presented a petition, signed by more than 6,500 voters, to City Council in accordance with NC General Statute 160A requesting the referendum. The City improperly rejected the petition as inadequate.
The suit by WCTA seeks a Declaratory Judgment from the court to require the City to abide by the North Carolina Constitution and General Statutes and conduct the referendum.
Regular readers of this forum are familiar with the concept of requiring a vote of the people before a government can assume new debt. Alternatives such as certificates of participation and tax-increment financing can lead to serious problems.