Guilford county commissioners are asking for an $11.6 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment.
In 2008, they twice asked voters to pass a tax increase, but by large majorities, the voters turned them down.
Voters did approve two school bonds in 2008, but county commissioners squandered much of that money by building two of the three most expensive schools in the state. (Jamestown Middle School and EC West).
When voters approved those school bonds, the county commissioners assured voters that the debt would be paid with existing funding streams.
To illustrate the commissioner’s inability to manage spending and the debt, the county will exceed its debt guideline every year from 2012 to 2016.
Now commissioners say they need a tax increase in order to pay for the excessive debt obligations.
Regardless of the county commissioners’ promises to use the new revenue from the tax increase to pay for the county’s debt, all of the new revenue would go into the general fund and could be spent for any legal purpose.
Since the special county taxing authority was established by the legislature in 2007, voters have turned down 68 of 85 requests for tax increases, sending the message that county commissioners must be more responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
Guilford County voters should think twice before rewarding the county commissioners with a tax increase.