The reality of taxes is spending | Eastern North Carolina Now

By:  Hood Richardson

The propaganda machines in Washington, DC and Washington, NC spout the same drivel.  Taxes are not going up.  All you taxpayers may now “Go back to sleep”.  Almost all of us get taken in by this drivel.  The truth is that all governments can either borrow money or over tax their constituents.  The Federal Government has borrowed and spent us into an inflationary poor house.  The Beaufort County Government has over taxed us, piled up a huge bank account and is now spending much more than we are being taxed.

Ultimately the Federal Government will have to spend less and , yes, raise taxes.  Ultimately the Beaufort County Government will have to spend less and, yes, raise taxes.  Both governments have the same problem----spending.

The propaganda machines in Washington, DC and Washington NC are still hard at work.  Newspaper and television presentations may make us feel better.  Local newspapers in Washington, NC have spread the word that property taxes will not go up.  Propagandists for Beaufort County have not written a truthful article that says spending is going up at least 5.6 million and possibly as much as 8 million dollars.  Washington, DC propagandists are doing the same thing.  The truth is that the deal that is being negotiated by the Republican House of Representatives with the Biden Administration does not reduce spending in any meaningful way.  We will spend less but still borrow it.    The message from both propagandists is still “Go back to sleep”.

Spending increased $8,843,071 in the present budget year that ends on June 30, 2023. The tax rate did not go up.. All of that money came from the fund balance (our savings account), taxes on new construction and increased sales tax collections.  In simple terms, it was accumulated from over taxation.

Proposed spending from the tax year beginning on July 1 of 2023 will go up 5.6 million plus the so called expansion budget amount which I am estimating to be 2.4 million dollars.  The tax rate will not go up. All of this money will come from the fund balance (our savings account) taxes on new construction and increased sales taxes.  In simple terms, it will accumulated from over taxation.

More spending will always lead to higher taxes.  Sooner or later our savings account will run dry, new construction will slow down and a recession will result in less sales tax being collected.  Taxes will then have to be increased at a time that has the citizens of Beaufort County under financial stress because of a recession.  Because we have not had a serious recession during the past 15 years does not mean one is not on the way.  My fiduciary sense tells me that we need to prepare for the hard times that will certainly come because of inflation and over spending at the national level.  Having the bad judgment to raise taxes during hard times is a sure fire way to get put out of elective office. 

The Beaufort County propaganda machine did not tell us we are looking at increased spending of as much as  $2,568,309 plus the 5.6 million in the capital spending ordinance..  The Gang of Four (Frankie Waters, Jerry  Langley, Ed booth  and John Rebholz) along with their voting companion Randy Walker, intend for the increase to fly thru the budget process quickly. The budget hearing is set for Wednesday, May 31 at 5:00 PM.   The inside plan is to approve the budget after the required budget hearing on Monday June 5 at the regularly scheduled commissioners meeting.  This gives only 4 days for the public to become aware they are being had again.

There are a variety of items in the expansion budget.

A pay classification study recommends a salary increase for all employees of $1.7 million dollars.  Do not confuse this with the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the continuation budget.  Taken together the proposed increase in salary is about 8 percent.

There is a proposal to increase the County contribution to the existing 401K retirement supplement of $509,441. There is a proposal to give employee dental insurance at a cost of $184,070.  There is another proposal to give a bonus to each holder of Master of Social Work degrees $5,000 at a total cost of $25,000,

Social Services is asking for four new employees to sign up people for the expanded Medicaid program at a  cost of cost of $248,960 depending on whether or not the Legislature passes a bill to pay for all of it.  There is another possibility that this could cost $71,527. Expanding Medicaid will not be free. 

Another proposal requests a supervisor for the four positions described in the above paragraph at a net cost of $34,351.  The State will pay part of the cost.

We have a request to donate $10,000 to the Animal Control Spay and Neuter program.  This program pays part of the cost of people having their pets spayed and neutered.

There is a request to expand services in the Blount’s Creek area because the Chocowinity EMS is busy making paid transports during the day time.  The expansion cost could be as much as $141,033. Bottom line, the commissioners never should have allowed Chocowinity EMS to set up two sets of books and  make paid transport calls rather than providing emergency services.  This is a subsidy to Chocowinity EMS.  We need to look at their books. The commissioners have refused to do so. Maybe the State Auditor is having a look with the Chocowinity fraud investigation.

 Beaufort County EMS is requesting four additional employees at a cost of $196,000.

The Public Works Department wants to hire another employee to service buildings at a cost of $55,000.

Cooperative extension wants to increase their pay $3,073 in addition to the other increases.

The Board of Elections is requesting an increase for two employees of $19,949 in addition to the other proposed increases.

The Board of Elections wants to increase elections workers pay by a total for all workers of $8,500.

The Sheriff wants another $176,214 to hire four more 911 telephone operators.

The Town of Bath wants $2,000 to build a press box for ball games.

The Town of Belhaven wants $9,200 for football equipment and bleachers.

The Town of Chocowinity wants $1,800 because of rising energy costs.

The Town of Aurora wants an additional $2,000 to improve Museum security.

The BHM Library wants an additional $4,487 because of rising costs.  They now get $224,352

The Highway 17 Association wants an additional $5,000 to lobby for four laneing the rest of US 17.

The Citizens on Southside Together want another $1,000 in addition to the present $2,000 gift.

Eagles Wings wants to increase their present gift of $2,000 another $3,000.

The Estuarium wants another $50,000 to build or improve an oyster restaurant.  They now get $15,000.

The Zion shelter wants another $2,000 in addition to the $10,000 they are now getting.

The Safe Harbor Helping wants $3,000 to be used to provide motel rooms for the homeless.

The Open-Door Community Center wants $4,000 to pay for maintenance of their shelter.

The Second Judicial District Recovery Court wants $10,000 to assist in the needs of the Court.

Green Lamp, Inc. request $25,000 to provide housing for the homeless.

This list does not necessarily present all expansion requests.

While most of these requests are doing good things, the taxpayers should not be forced to pay certain bills and make donations to charities.  Wealthy taxpayers can afford to make donations.  Struggling and  poorer taxpayers  need to keep their more of their money. 

These requests did not find their way into the budget by accident. Someone in government or some elected official insisted they be presented.  Every item is an expansion of government and will increase spending and taxes until commissioners have the courage to remove them.  Some items are not legitimate uses of tax money.

If you do not like the way government is run, change the people who are running government.

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( May 31st, 2023 @ 5:40 pm )
Tax money handed out to private organizations. That is political payola, vote buying, and corruption.
Big Bob said:
( May 31st, 2023 @ 10:01 am )
Hmmm..taxes spent on providing services. I'm ok with it.
( May 28th, 2023 @ 1:02 pm )
Taxpayers should not be involuntary charitable givers through taxation. Thee charities should ask us directly for money. I have absolutely no respect for any of them who hold their hands out to politicians. This is totally corrupt because what they are doing is trading their political support for taxpayers cash from the politicians. The politicians themselves are corrupt in buying votes this way.
( May 28th, 2023 @ 12:50 pm )
The People get the government they deserve. After over 31 years in politics, and after 22.5 years of serving as a Beaufort County Commissioner, this is the greatest truth that I have learned in this avocation.

Elections matter; supporting worthy candidates matters; knowing what is real as a citizen matters! A knowledgeable and assertive public in this People's government's is OUR greatest tool of US, the self-governed.

Accordingly, the public MUST become better engaged, or ... what transpires good or probably bad, as is the ongoing trend at many levels of today's government, will remain YOUR fault.

That is the foundational premise of self government.

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