Commissioners Vote for Tax Increase!!!– Report by Robert A. Williams

The June 21, 2016 was a night of sneaky tricks pulled by the Cleveland County Commissioners. No Comment on the Federal Lawsuit against DSS. No Comment from the Commissioners about them refusing to fund an auditorium and a swimming pool at Burns and Crest High Schools, No Comment about the secret deal to give the Fair $250,000 except for that one propaganda article in the Shelby Star under the cover name of a reporter who was not there who quoted people who also were not there. A pack of lies and misrepresentations, that’s propaganda ain’t it.

But this tax increase deal is a masterpiece. If Ph.D. degrees were given for being sneaky and underhanded, we should be calling all our commissioners Doctors. Doctor Jason Falls, Doctor Eddie Holbrook, Doctor Johnny Hutchins, Doctor Ronnie Hawkins and Doctor Susan Allen.

This is how it went down.

The commissioners say the county fire departments and other public safety services need additional funding but they don’t want to raise the 57 cent tax rate based on property evaluations. So, they want to add a quarter of one cent (0.25 cent-that is what they said in the meeting) to the Local Sales and Use taxes collected by the state and returned to the county. They say that sales taxes are the only fair tax in the first place. Although NC had instituted a “temporary” sales tax in 1933, Governor Terry Sanford (Democrat) instituted the first 3 cent sales tax on food in North Carolina way back in 1961. That tax on food was also said to be the only fair tax as blacks would have to pay that tax too. So not much has changed regarding race relations in NC and Cleveland County in a long time.

Another bit of history related to this is that Governor Terry Sanford touted himself as an education governor who wanted to desegregate schools. Yet implementing the Brown v Board of education Supreme Court decision in 1957 that legally forced school desegregation was delayed in NC in part by Gov. Sanford and the NC Democrats by threatening to shut down public schools altogether unless the implementation was delayed. If you remember, schools in Cleveland County were not integrated until 1968 when Burns and Crest High Schools were opened.

One more bit of information is the League of Women Voters lobbied the NC General Assembly intensely regarding the Statewide food tax. The General Assembly relented on the state tax on food and repealed it. However, Cleveland County did not repeal their tax on food and it exists today, soon to be raised by the Cleveland County Commissioners, by 0.25 cent.

Of course the same old greedy commissioners who give tax money away hand over fist don’t give a whit about low income folks who have a hard time making ends meet. The folks who sometime have to decide whether they have enough money to eat and then can’t afford their medicine or to buy their medicine and go hungry. Apparently the commissioners don’t care about that, they want to continue taxing food so they can get the sales tax on food bought by food stamps issued to the 25,000 people in Cleveland County who qualify for food stamps.. Since the money coming into the county food stamp program will be taxed, an additional $90,000 on top of the existing tax, that means an additional $90,000 of tax money intended to feed to poor will go to the commissioners for them to waste. and for the other 75,000 residents of Cleveland County, your bills will go up too.

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