Tax hike for arts? Vot­ers be wary

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Opinion -

In re­sponse to “A tax hike for the arts? There’s one big glitch” (Feb. 17 Ed­i­to­rial):

The writer is a John Locke Foun­da­tion se­nior fel­low.

The Observer ed­i­to­rial board is right to feel queasy about giv­ing county com­mis­sion­ers a new slush fund with tens of mil­lions from a pro­posed Joseph quar­terCo­letti cent sales

tax for the arts, but they un­der­es­ti­mate how large the slush fund could be.

Re­gard­less of prom­ises made by county com­mis­sion­ers to use the $50 mil­lion for arts and af­ford­able hous­ing or any­thing else, their prom­ises could quickly ex­pire.

Vot­ers in Bun­combe County learned the hard way. In 2011, Bun­combe vot­ers nar­rowly ap­proved a sales tax in­crease on the promise that funds would be spent on cap­i­tal needs at Asheville-Bun­combe Tech­ni­cal Com­mu­nity Col­lege. In­stead, since 2013, Bun­combe com­mis­sion­ers have si­phoned more than $15 mil­lion (20 per­cent of tax re­ceipts) into the county’s gen­eral fund.

Meck­len­burg County vot­ers should be spared the same fate.

– Joseph Co­letti, Raleigh

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