The latest outrage on the Charlotte transit tax

For both transit tax supporters and opponents alike, tomorrow is the big day, where voters will decide whether or not to repeal the transit tax. I blogged about this some last week, but the tenacious Jeff Taylor over at The John Locke Foundation’s Meck Deck blog has more news that will outrage even further the opponents of the transit tax: The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, a part of the city government, contributed $5,000 to the “Save the Tax” campaign:

Hours after supporters of the transit tax repeal effort questioned why the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, a unit of Charlotte city government which receives $11 million a year in hotel-motel tax revenue while managing city-owned venues, gave $5,000 to the Save The Tax campaign, Charlotte city attorney Mac McCarley said the contribution would be returned to the CRVA today.

In an email to Charlotte attorney Tom Ashcraft, McCarley said although there is no clear legal prohibition on CRVA political contributions, the money would be returned “to avoid any appearance of a legal problem.”

This just proves once again how ignorant city of Charlotte “leaders” really are. Are you going to tell me that not one of them ever considered the possibility that this would, at the very least, present an appearance of impropriety, and at the most, could very well be illegal? They used taxpayer money to promote keeping a tax. Is there even one functioning brain among these people?

In a post later Friday, Jeff had this update:

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tim Newman today declined a request for an interview and issued the following statement on the CRVA’s $5,000 donation to the Vote Against Repeal campaign:

“At the request of the Charlotte Chamber, CRVA made a $5,000 contribution to the Vote Against Repeal effort based on advice we received that this contribution was legal as destination promotion and transportation projects are both allowed under our charter from the state. The Vote For Repeal committee has protested this contribution and the Chamber is returning the contribution to us as state law is actually unclear on this per the City Attorney. All concerned believe the return of the contribution is the best thing to do. If you are asked about this please direct all inquiries to me and I will forward to the City Attorney.”

In other words, contributing to the political effort to keep the half-cent sales tax was classified as a “destination promotion” and/or “transportation project.”

Under that definition, any candidate for office who sought to, say, triple the area’s tourism promotion budget would likewise qualify for CRVA funding.

Let’s stop the nonsense. Vote for tomorrow for the repeal of the transit tax.1

There are some other local elections of interest as well, with one excpetion: The mayoral election will likely see Mayor Pat McCrory, who is pro-transit tax, voted in for his umpteenth term as mayor. The Mecklenburg County GOP has a voting card you can take with you to the polls in case you want to vote straight ticket, but remember, all Republican candidates aren’t necessarily conservatives (for example: Pat McCrory is not a conservative) so make sure to do some research beforehand.

  1. Nope, I am not being paid to say this. [back]

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