Board to hear from Havelock residents on proposed tax increase

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 at 08:32 AM.

The law strips $62 million from counties and municipalities across the state. Proponents argue that a flat $100 privilege license fee is fair for all and helps out businesses that hire workers in the state, with the overall reduced fees also allowing businesses to pass the savings on to their customers.

Will Lewis said the General Assembly is simply sticking its nose in city government business, a place it doesn’t belong.

“Absolutely they’re overstepping their bounds,” he said. “It’s not even necessarily about the dollars. The dollars are going to hurt everybody. It’s about the fact that this is a General Assembly that ran on the fact that they were going to let the government closest govern. They wanted smaller government, but instead what they’re doing is the exact opposite of that and they are trying to regulate every little piece of municipalities, and they are coming down here telling us we cannot collect a privilege license because they didn’t think we were doing it fairly, when the whole time we were just following the rules that they gave us. All they had to do was change the rules, but instead they just abolished the whole thing. They abolished the whole thing and left us holding the bag. It’s unfair.”

Though the bulk of the impact from the legislation won’t hit Havelock until 2015-16, the mayor said the one-year delay means little.

“It’s going to cost us money and they have this notion that we’ve got 12 months now and that we’re just going to find the money to cut it,” he said. “You’re telling me to find a penny and a half out of our budget when we’re already bare bones. Are you crazy?”

Walsh, who is mayor pro tem, was equally frustrated.

“When is the government going to stop being stupid and realize that we can only charge these folks so many dollars, that it’s very important to keep their taxes down and just because you went to Raleigh or you went to Washington D.C. doesn’t mean that you suddenly have the opportunity to take advantage of everybody out here so that you can get re-elected for the rest of your life,” Walsh said. “The state just keeps making it unreasonable for everybody.”

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