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monsoon

Charlotte City Income Tax?

Should Charlotte Impose a City Income Tax to avoid a Property Tax Hike?  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Charlotte Impose a City Income Tax to avoid a Property Tax Hike?

    • No
      12
    • Yes
      6


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The Charlotte government finds itself short of money and is proposing a hike in the property tax rate to cover the shortfall. Instead of this approach, would the city be better served by imposing a city/local income tax on wages? This would have the effect of getting people, who don't live in the city, to pay a share of the city's operating budget.

The downside of this is that it may drive jobs out of the city. What do you think?

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Though the mayor would imply otherwise, taxes for property owners have risen quite a bit over the last two decades. This was done by re-valuation. Remember the property tax you pay is calculated by Tax = Tax Value X Rate. The city has performed a number of re-valuations, the first 1/2 of the equation, but they have not changed the rate, the second 1/2 of the equation in a long time. Hence they can say they have not raised the rate, but they can't say they have not increased taxes (what really matters) on the property owners.

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Revaluation is done by the county, it's the through the county real estate and tax assessment offices. When it comes to property taxes, the city and towns don't collect their own property taxes, then those revenues are distributed among the city and towns according to their rates. The blame for a high property tax is on Mecklenburg County, mainly because of CMS. But with the funding sources for Mecklenburg County, property tax is the main source of revenue with 53 percent of the total revenue stream. Compared with the City of Charlotte, property tax is only 18 percent of total revenue stream. These percentages are from the fiscal year 04-05. Unlike the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County does not have within its budget self supporting services like the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Uilities Department and CATS, which has their own budgets with their own revenue streams. I see, that this topic came out of the City Council meeting last night, what anger me is that the public speakers comment without actually knowing what they are talking about, research before you speak!

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Pam Syfert explained a little more why they say they haven't raised taxes.. bla bla bla... in a Q&A which Richard Rubin of the Observer.

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/new...ws/11599628.htm

Honestly, from my perspective, i think it was noble that the city avoided [whatever they did that they're proud of as far as the tax rate] for so long, but mild rate increases are not so bothersome to me. I know people are frustrated by the big ticket projects like the light rail and the HOF and the Arena, but none of them are directly in the operating budget, just as the airport runway and running water to random parts of the county are not part of that same budget.

I see the increase as necessary, as it is clear that charlotte needs to speed up its roads. I was not aware of the need for police and fire, but this doesn't bother me. Property taxes are very progressive as they are based entirely on the value of the property, and not paid (directly) by non-property owners. Considering it is just a couple dollars a month extra, and that is for 200,000$ home (squarely in the middle class), i can't imagine how anyone will even notice this change on the taxpaying side, but people will definitely notice the change as roads are built and widened that have been lacking for years.

Anyway, back to the topic... i think charlotte will eventually have an income tax (hopefully it will be county, rather than city) because of its proximity to another state, and because the jobs pay well in charlotte compared to surrounding counties. I think it is a smart growth tax, as it eliminates the excuse for many to leave the county to avoid taxes.

My main concern, though, is that charlotte already pays an income tax, and our large issue is that we get a lower percentage back from the state than we should. The city must take over many responsibilities that the state owes us. I hope to see that issue addressed. but in the meantime, i think it is absurd that people fight local taxation, which has the most direct postive impact on our daily lives, when we pay so much to the state and federal gov'ts, where waste is much more prevalent.

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I'm all for a city income tax that is refunded back to people who actually live in the city like they do in Philly......essentially it become a commuter tax.

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Revaluation is done by the county,

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is correct as they run the tax office. None the less, city taxes that an individual might pay on their property have gone up considerably in the last two decades.

Current Tax Rates ($ per $100 valuation)

Mecklenburg County Paid by all property owners in Meck

  • If you live in a city then - $0.7567

  • If you in and uninc area - $0.9193

If you live in one of the cities you also pay these city taxes

  • Charlotte - $0.42

  • Davidson - $0.345

  • Matthews - $0.3075

  • Pineville - $0.30

  • Huntersville - $0.28

  • Mint Hill - $0.275

  • Cornelius - $0.26

Currently a Charlotte resident would pay $1.1767 for every $100 of valuation or close to $100/month on a $100,000 house. This is a significant expense and this is where the idea of imposing a city income tax instead of rasing the city rate, comes from.

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... and a little bit more if you live in a special tax district in charlotte, like uptown, southend, and now (i think) university city.

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Yes. There are special tax districts that add to the amount. It should be noted the tax burden on downtown Davidson almost the highest in the county. Unfortunately the tax office does not list where these are in Charlotte.

Tax District, Rate, Total combined rate

  • Charlotte District 1 - .0174 - $1.1941

  • Charlotte District 2 - .0298 - $1.2065

  • Charlotte District 3 - .0445 - $1.2212

  • Charlotte District 4 - .0668 - $1.2435

  • Charlotte District 5 - .0300 - $1.2067

  • Davidson District - .14 - $1.2417

In addition if you live in one of these places you get charged a yearly fee for each car you own. Long ago, you had to buy a city license tag (window sticker) but they did away with it when the state stopped replacing the license tags each year and went to validation stickers. However they did not get rid of the fee and have quietly rasied it several times.

  • Charlotte $30.00

  • Cornelius $10.00

  • Matthews $5.00

  • Mint Hill $10.00

When you add on the pseudo taxes added to the water bill, phone bill, and fees for some city services, one finds the tax burden in Mecklenburg is quite high.

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high in percentage terms, or real dollar terms? incomes are higher here, so being highest in real dollar terms doesn't botther me at all.

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I'll gladly pay more in property taxes in return for saving $200/month is gas costs to commute downtown, plus my appreciation is double the rate of what the surrounding counties are seeing.

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how 'bout a city sales tax. Now there is a total choice tax.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

that "choice" lowers employment and economic drivers out of the city/county. Concord mills + our higher sales tax leads to more people leaving meck to shop, leading to lower revenue from sales tax, leading to higher property tax. And we're back where we started, but with meck residents that shop in cabarrus double taxed, and cabarrus residents under-taxed (which then leads to more cabarrus residents, that lead to sprawl and traffic and more taxes) :)

I'm back to my original stand... get the feds and state to stop wasting kazillions on random stuff, and pay their share for transportation and civic infrastructure. And rich people need to step up philanthropy for arts and poor people.

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Out of curiosity, how many separate line items appear on the average property tax bill in your state? Does the rate of $1.2417 per $100 of assessed value (total combined rate for Davidson district) include the school district as well?

On my Florida property tax bill, I have 12 separate line items, not including user fees for garbage pickup and other services that are tacked onto that bill. I have line items for city tax, county tax, school tax, state taxes (water management and flood control, Everglades restoration), fire-rescue district and library district. City, school, county, and fire-rescue also have debt service line items. That brings my property tax rate to $22.88210 per $1000 of assessed value.

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We're a lot better off than you......I don't remember the number of line items, but the rate of $1.2417 per $100 is effectively it.....the county funds schools, libraries, the city funds police/fire, trash.......and the everglades here are effectively restored already.......

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I believe Hawaii is the only state that does it that way, and that's only because the K-12 school system is a statewide school district.

Schools funded purely at the state level would probably mean more regulation and less control over local funding.

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how 'bout a city sales tax. Now there is a total choice tax.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually Mecklenburg county has a special 1% sales tax on any prepared food that you would purchase. This includes takeout food in grocery stores and of course any restaurant.

In addition, NC gives each county the right to impose a 1% local option sales tax on almost all retail purchases. Of course they could not pass that up here in Mecklenburg.

Finally in Mecklenburg we pay a 1/2% sales tax for the transit system.

So compared to some other counties, our sales taxes (which are for local purposes) amount to up to 2.5 cents more per dollar.

Sales taxes don't apply to some purchases or have limitations i.e cars and boats. And the state exempts some purchases from sales tax such as grass seed. (so make sure that Home Depot doesn't charge you for this)

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CMS is funded by three sources, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the Federal Govt. CMS's total budget is almost $1 Billion, out of that $1 Billion, Mecklenburg pays about 1/3 of it for management and school construction and maintainence. The State mainly pay for teachers' salary and funding of some programs. The Federal govt funds program like free and reduce lunch and some programs.

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CMS is funded by three sources, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the Federal Govt.  CMS's total budget is almost $1 Billion, out of that $1 Billion, Mecklenburg pays about 1/3 of it for management and school construction and maintainence.  The State mainly pay for teachers' salary and funding of some programs.  The Federal govt funds program like free and reduce lunch and some programs.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Latest edition of Newsweek ranks the top 100 high schools in the country. There's a large number in NC with 4 in the Charlotte area, 4 in the Triangle, and 1 in the Triad.

9 - Raleigh Charter - Raleigh, NC

25 - Harding University - Charlotte, NC

37 - Myers Park - Charlotte, NC

38 - East Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

52 - Enloe - Raleigh, NC

56 - North Mecklenberg - Huntersville, NC

67 - Grimsley - Greensboro, NC

74 - Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

88 - Butler - Matthews, NC

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Those newsweek rankings are the epitome of rankings for rankings-sake. It only shows something like students taking AP tests divided by number of kids that graduate. So theoretically, if the school happens to pull from working class neighborhoods that don't plan to go to college AND those kids graduate, the school looks better on those rankings than if those non-AP kids don't graduate.

So east chapel hill hs might be great at having a district line drawn around professors kids (wow, great job ECHHS) that take AP classes, but may be terrible at graduating their non-AP calibre kids... and that just makes them look great...

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Those newsweek rankings are the epitome of rankings for rankings-sake.  It only shows something like students taking AP tests divided by number of kids that graduate.  So theoretically, if the school happens to pull from working class neighborhoods that don't plan to go to college AND those kids graduate, the school looks better on those rankings than if those non-AP kids don't graduate. 

So east chapel hill hs might be great at having a district line drawn around professors kids (wow, great job ECHHS) that take AP classes, but may be terrible at graduating their non-AP calibre kids... and that just makes them look great...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

How many homebuyers take all that into consideration when looking at the schools in the area though? It's still a positive from the perspective of giving the impression Charlotte has good schools, and adding another star to the "Why you should move here" line up.

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If the city needs the money, I'd rather have a city tax than a property tax. Is a SplOST possible?

After living in FL, I tend to be more in favor of income and sales tax over higher property taxes. Income tax and sales tax tend to be paid a bit more equally by everyone whereas increased property taxes forces only a few to pay. I've never seen that as very fair.

In addition, NC gives each county the right to impose a 1% local option sales tax on almost all retail purchases.  Of course they could not pass that up here in Mecklenburg.

I should read more carefully. That answers my question. When was the last referendum on a SplOST in Char-Meck? I'm shocked that people would vote against one. What is the resistance to paying taxes here? It's not like we get services for free. And a sales tax is certainly a better option than higher property taxes. Everyone pays rather than a select few. JMO.

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