Sunday, September 19, 2010

Commissioner Offers Tax Increases to Make Up for WAVE Budget Deficit

WAVE budget deficits a growing burden for taxpayers

In an email to constituents Friday, New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield offered a vehicle registration tax and a 1/4% sales tax hike as options to make up for looming WAVE transit budget shortfalls. He stated he was not advocating one way or the other, but was looking for feedback on the subject. (Read the complete email here.) 

NC House Bill 148 was signed into law in September of 2009 . Barfield explained the bill as follows: “…the legislation allows the authority (WAVE Transit) the ability to seek a resolution from the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for a vehicle registration fee of up to $7.00 per vehicle and/or for the commissioners to call a referendum levying ¼ cent to the sales tax with the proceeds exclusively benefiting public transportation in the county.” The additional taxes would be used to cover everything from new buses to employee benefits.

The email does not mention raising rider fares to cover the associated cost of use.

Even with a decline in ridership of nearly 20%, the list of WAVE spending projects continues to grow. The new WAVE transit station, nicknamed the “Taj-Ma-Wave” by some for it’s over the top design, is currently under construction behind Costco. The project includes an allocation of up to $40,000 for a single piece of artwork.

The downtown multi modal center is another project being pushed by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority (WAVE) that would ultimately be funded by taxpayers as well. Barfield sits on the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority board. Who was it that said, “Build it and they will come?”

Commissioner Barfield asked for feedback. Mine is below. Please take time to let him know your opinion regarding another tax increase. His email address is

Dear Commissioner Barfield
Please, please, please do not even consider raising our taxes. We are being taxed to death, literally, a 1/4% at a time. The current economic condition of our state and country should serve as a slap in the face that things must change. The spending and taxing has to come to an end. We are headed full speed at the unforgiving wall of economic destruction, a crash it will take our country a long time to recover from, assuming we are able to recover at all. The “free ride” is over.  Working families simply can’t afford it anymore.