Bull Mr. Barber. Segregated schools is where a school board passes a resolution saying "Only black children can attend this school, only white children can attend that one." That's not what's being done here. They're saying that schools will be assigned based on where you live. Now, whatever the secondary effects of that happen to be, they just happen to be. If it so happens that black kids go to school in black neighborhoods, which just happen to be poor, well that sucks - but it is an unintended secondary effect.
These arent the '60's. "We shall overcome" - please.
In this discussion, your lengthly comments remind me of the phrase that MLK used frequently to help civil rights workers focus on the matter at hand by warning against "majoring in the minor and minoring in the major."
The PFT is the most progressive revenue source avaialbe to our community so it is good for Durham. That is really all you need to know. Many of your points are based upon supposition with out supporting data and which, at the end of the day, either are not knowable or make no difference.
For example you assume that the debt financing would cost signficantly more than a GO bond. I have checked with some folks who do this for a living with CitiBank. They say generally it would be 5-25 basis points or $5k to $25k, but for Durham with it's AAA bond rating there may be no difference in the interest rates need to finance such bonds. Of course, in the current environment it would be hard to know but in a $50+ million dollar deal $0-25k is just not significant enough to be part of the discussion.
Also, you say that the 3% administrative fee wouldn't be there if we used property taxes versus PFT. It is not clear that you are right on this either. The fact that there is a 3% allowance under the PFT dosen't mean that there is an incremental 3% expense. It is simply an allowed allocation of governmental expenses. If the government could do it for less, regular general fund expenses could be absorbed in the 3% making this progressive revenue source even more valuable to Durham.
I won't attempt to rebut each of the points that you make but the biggest point is that this is an opportunity to adopt a more progressive type of tax revenue source and to help Durham's special places achieve their potential, one that has been used in other communites to move thier counties forward. That is the major issue. Let's major in the major issue.
I think the committees purpose is to help the community understand the tax, who pays it, and the beneficial uses of the revenue. One cent on the dollar is a relatively insignificant contirbution from the optional choice of eating out. Forty percent is expected to come from non-Durham dinners. Please take the time to learn about all the uses of these funds, but it will have broad based benefits to Durham. Take the time to learn about it before you misrepresent it. The sources that you site are incomplete and were written before the legislature passed the enabling statute. The county's site is quite informative (http://www.co.durham.nc.us/departments/bocc/Information/DurhamCountyMealsTax/Durham_County_Meals_Tax.pdf).
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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