June 11, 2012
In a stunning decision, Charlotte City Council members voted 6 to 5 Monday against a proposal to raise property taxes for Charlotte residents.
City Manager Curt Walton has lobbied for the capital plan this year, saying the city must do more to improve low-income neighborhoods. He has said the city’s current financial path – in which south Charlotte pays for half of the city’s property taxes – is “unsustainable.”
In the months leading up to Monday’s vote, only the council’s two Republicans voiced significant opposition to the tax increase included in the $552.2 million budget. But during Monday’s meeting, after a weekend of intense lobbying, Democrats Michael Barnes, Patrick Cannon, Beth Pickering and Claire Fallon voted no with Republicans Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey.
Mayor Anthony Foxx called the vote “irresponsible” in front of a crowd of hundreds.
Foxx and several council supporters argued the tax increase, and the entire $1.97 billion budget would have created jobs, and put hundreds of millions into the city. Those against it, including Councilman Andy Dulin argued that now is not the time for a tax hike.
The tax hike would have raised Charlotte’s property tax rate from 43.7 cents to 47.3 cents for every $100 of taxable value. That money would have provided nearly a $1 billion capitol plan for projects like six new police stations, affordable housing, Bojangles Coliseum renovations and extending the street car line.
Lots of citizens came out to the council meeting at the Government Center to oppose what many observers believed was a done deal.
After a lengthy and at times heated debate, council voted 6 to 5 against the increase.
City council sent the budget back to committee. The panel will now vote on the issue June 25th. The city budget has to be approved by June 30th.
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