SEEMS LIKE A good time of year to talk about government since we have elections in the next few weeks. As many of you know we have been in several challenging positions this year and I don’t look for any of that to change any time soon.
Our state legislature is going to try to fix the problems in every municipality they have ever known. The sales and use tax redistribution, (a.k.a. wealth redistribution) is the latest activity we have had to conquer. This is so misguided I can’t begin to put it in words. This doesn’t have anything to do with economic development, which would have slowed me down a little. Jones County, to the west of the southern part of Carteret County, would be the biggest winner in the state, while we are number four in the list of counties to lose the most. This is not about the haves and the have not’s, it’s about fair and need … and not want.
I have always been of the opinion that the best government is the government closest to the people. This is one of the reasons I think Homeowners Associations are so important. If you want to know the opinion of the people and can’t get to them directly, ask the next level down, the home owners’ association, and then the next level down, local government and so on.
North Carolina is as diverse geographically from the ocean and outer banks to the Appalachian Mountains as any single state in our nation. The economic differences are also as diverse. Tourism, agrarian economies, manufacturing, and more tourism; North Carolina has it all! And every economic problem cannot be solved with just money.
Sales and use tax distribution openly displays the struggles local governments are having with cash flow management. Services cost more with inflation and contract increases that are set in concrete. If you cut and cut and add more and more efficiencies, eventually you run out of options.
Locally, we have had this same struggle for a few years now. The same argument applies locally. The economic engine in Carteret County is without question our beaches. To change the sales and use tax we can only hope that our unified fight against the state legislature will cause our county to look in the mirror and make any decision in the future to change the sales and use tax distribution sound ridiculous.
We have had threats to our tree ordinances, threats to our municipal service districts, and sales and use tax redistribution, to name a few. Let’s hope the other levels of government can find something to do other than try to regulate us!
It is an honor to serve and represent you and your interests. “One team, One town, One Pine Knoll Shores!”