SPLib's blog

The Cost of Living in Paradise

Those of us lucky enough to live in Moore County know we’ve got it good. Some even call it paradise. As any Eagles fan knows, “they call it paradise, I don’t know why, you call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.”

I think the following excerpt from a Fayetteville Observer article "Economy is a worry even in paradise" exemplifies how our little slice of paradise is threatened.

Mary Jakucyk can be charming.

She has crystal-clear blue eyes, soft and smooth skin. And a disdain for Obama.

She’s not keen on McCain, either.

Care to help out an UNA?

I am registered unaffiliated(UNA) and plan on voting in the primary sometime this week. As most of you probably know, unaffiliated voters get to choose what party’s primary they get to vote in.

Especially because of the Presidential race, I’d like to have my vote for Obama heard in the Democratic primary. On the other hand, our (Moore County) contests for state senate, state house, and county commission only have Republicans in the race.

Sandhills Open Thread

Yesterday’s Pilot reports Moore, Chatham, and Orange Counties are joining together to request new local taxing options as alternative sources of revenue to existing sales and property taxes. It is hoped that three counties working together and which happen to be represented at least partially by the Speaker will be more effective in bringing fairness and consistency to taxing authority for all 100 NC counties.

An important element of these resolutions is that the counties are asking to have these options so they can put them up for referendum. This is an important distinction, because if the legislature is to deny these options, they are saying they know better than the voters do about how the people would choose to be taxed. Of course, would also be saying, in not so many words, they desperately need the money that flows from the homebuilder and real estate lobbies. If we're talking about referendums, there should be no need for the Legislature to act to “protect” people from their county governments.

More Locke Schlock

The JLF policy report "Johnston County's 'Dumb Growth' Plan: The Growth Management Committee Fails to Understand Basic Economics" itself fails to understand basic economics.

Higher Property Taxes. With the increase in the value of housing countywide, the next revaluation in 2011 will show a marked increase in property tax levels. This will pose a hardship on the elderly and others on fixed incomes.

Basic economics and basic property tax comprehension show this to be a false/incorrect statement. Especially when there is an "increase in the value of housing countywide," there is no overall relationship between the revaluation and the property tax levy. When revaluation is done, especially on an eight year schedule (the longest term legally allowed) it is almost 100% certain that the tax rate goes down. Some people's taxes will go up and some will go down. The County is required to publish a "revenue neutral" rate so people will know if net taxes are actually being raised. For example, if the tax base doubles in value, they have to publish the rate (half as much as before) that would get the government the same amount of money if the revaluation had not been done. That's not to say the County won't decide they need to raise taxes, but that's a separate issue and unrelated to a revaluation. The great minds at the JLF should know all this.

Homebuilders and Realtors Top Advocates for the Poor?

Today's N&O reports Chatham County is trying to get authorization to add a land transfer tax to help pay for growth. Most growing counties in the state are wanting some kind of impact/transfer tax/fee to help handle the costs associated with growth.

What I find interesting, but no longer surprising, is how the realtors and homebuilders are always right on top of things talking about how much these new fees and taxes will hurt "working families," etc.

Imposing taxes on new and existing homes will hurt working families by making homes less affordable," said Tim Kent, executive vice president of the Realtors Association.

How come we don't hear cries about this from groups who actually care about affordable housing. Nobody from Habitat ever speaks up. Nobody from the other groups speaks up. I guess they sit back and let the homebuilders and realtors go on with their own tireless fight for the working class. After all builders and realtors always voluntary include affordable housing in their big new subdivisions, don't they? If cities didn't have affordable housing mandates in place, the developers would still build a certain proportion of affordable housing out of the goodness of their hearts, right?

Boylan Tries to Make His Mark Early

A while back, Momo took us on a tour of Jackson Hamlet, a small Black community surrounded by Pinehurst and Aberdeen but not in either's municipal limits. They, along with a similar community on the other side of Aberdeen, Midway, have been trying to obtain municipal services, especially water and/or sewer.

Without going too deeply into why these communities are surrounded by, but not in, municipal borders, it comes down to historic settlement patterns, NC annexation law, and the high costs of utilities extensions among other things.

Much progress has occurred lately and it appears Midway will be getting services soon thanks to a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) obtained by Aberdeen. Midway will soon be part of Aberdeen, through voluntary or involuntary annexation.

Why I Won't Vote for John Edwards

From N&O 7/19/1998 "Edwards' success is campaign issue"

...But lawyers who have faced Edwards in the courtroom say he is a master of playing on the heartstrings of jurors who have a natural sympathy for brain-damaged babies or for people who have been paralyzed. And they argue that Edwards, more than any other personal injury lawyer in North Carolina, is responsible for changing the legal climate, where huge verdicts are now acceptable.

The cost for some caught in Edwards lawsuits is more than monetary.

That was the case of Dr. Brian Sherrington, a Southern Pines pediatrician, who was sued along with an obstetrician and Moore County Regional Hospital when a baby was born prematurely with severe respiratory problems and with brain damage.

Sherrington was not involved in the baby's delivery. But after the baby was born, he was called by a nurse for a brief telephone consultation when he was the only doctor the hospital could reach. He told the hospital to get a chest X-ray.

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