In last week's paper, Thomas Goldsmith made the case that the tax hikes in Raleigh and Wake County can be linked to the legislature's tax cuts ["The Tax Man Cometh," June 21]. Bonnie Hauser thinks his analysis is off: "I love content that explains money, but this one is pretty simplistic. The tax increases in Raleigh have nothing to do with the state. It's mostly the costs of urbanization and growth. Transportation, parks and greenways, and other amenities all cost money. Wake and Raleigh each have lots of them. At the county level, Wake's schools have done a lot with a little—and it's reassuring to know that the county and the school board are working to get some of politics out of the school funding process.
"As a city, Raleigh has added incredible service and recreational resources, the county has excellent schools, and they boast some of the lowest taxes in the state. I think some of us are worried about the pace of development, but the economics and tax policy is impressive—and compared to Orange and Durham, Wake is hitting it out of the park.
"It's easy to blame everything on the state. They deserve it, especially when it comes to health care and Medicaid —something that counties are doing nothing about. Gentrification is undermining affordable housing everywhere, and the counties are all benefiting from the increase in property taxes. And like it or not, Wake has seen impressive job growth—something that benefits everyone. So please help us connect the right dots so we can stop the partisan nonsense and start holding every politician accountable for helping to create communities that we all can be proud of."
"Goldsmith states the reality that tax cuts at the federal government leads to increases in state taxes and tax cuts at the state leads to increases in county taxes," writes Terry Duff. "Wouldn't that be great? We could severely cut the federal government, which is our biggest tax burden, thus saving us thousands of dollars. The local level would have control, and we could tell our elected neighbors living up the street (directly over the fence and by voting) where we want our real money (not federal deficit money) spent. This would be based on our local needs and not on federal programs and many highly paid administrators to run those federal programs. Could we use the money for more and better teachers? Health care? Getting the feds, our backroom Congress, and so much fraud out of our lives would certainly have many positive changes. When people pay out of their own pocket, as we have for most of our 241 years, the United States of America thrives. Far better than an extra Chick-fil-A every other week."
Relatedly, commenter Trixsie M thinks we went too easy on the Wake County school system in its recent budget dispute with the Board of Commissioners. "Why isn't the INDY asking the Wake County Public Schools System why they believe they have the right to retain the $20 million? It's taxpayer money directly intended for the school system. If they have that much left over, then what didn't the WCPSS fund in previous years? Where is the mention that the county board contributed more than their original proposal?
"The WCPSS talks about mistrust, but they do nothing to foster trust—especially with all the hyperbole and attempts at creating a guilt-ridden environment. The WCPSS consistently practices a lack of transparency and proposes unsustainable and at times grossly incorrect projections, but they want the taxpayer to trust them? When questioned, they get angry and obfuscate. Then, much like this article, the media spins the tale that the county is unwilling to support education. Where is the media holding the WCPSS accountable? Where are the articles detailing how taxpayer money is spent or misspent? Where is a full picture of spending by the WCPSS? Is it just easier to eviscerate a board of commissioners that is attempting to rein in an unsustainable trajectory of spending?"