Wednesday, November 05, 2008

WOW - 35,000 VOTES

The 1% prepared food tax for cultural and tourism development lost but that isn’t a surprise.

Given the state requirement that we run it in a general election (unprecedented and never advisable for local issues) and so little time was permitted for public education, and a sudden economic downturn, not to mention well-funded interference and misinformation from outside sources….

It is miraculous that the measure received 35,000 votes in addition to t
he 31 organization endorsements.

To put that in perspective, 35,000 votes is as many or more than any measure or politician received in last November’s local election. After 15 years of shaping consensus on this, it seems like just a speed bump.

I say on the merits of this incredible showing under daunting odds that we seek another opportunity to do it right. It is only fair. Raleigh and Charlotte were given this resource without even a vote. At the least Durham should get the opportunity to do it in a local election with ample time for public education.

I didn’t run into anyone who opposed it, who didn’t change their mind after a few minutes of explanation.

Even for those who in good faith opposed it, we need to do more to show them the facts related to regressivity. Fact is, this is simply an opportunity for Durham taxpayers to shift 40% of the cost for cultural, recreational and tourism development to non-residents and free up general funds for more general needs.

As far as the restaurant association, they know full well this isn’t unfairly targeting them. They benefit more than any other type of business by the fact that visitor promotion is self funded by a special tax on hotel rooms. They also know that there is clear and public information that their heartburn after helping Raleigh and Charlotte get this resource is due solely to the fact that the legislature reduced sales tax on groceries.

I think the association has some good points to make but pushing out a lot of confusing, contradictory and border line hypocritical misinformation whether directly or through Raleigh operatives, puts them down on the same level of the “local politics” they are always rolling their eyes about.

Durham deserves another chance.

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