- Published on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 14:17
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Don't focus entirely on how the Presidential Election will affect your wallet over the next four years; consider state and local taxes.
Here's an example: Carolina Beach.
In addition to the potential for Washington to allow Bush era tax cuts to expire combined with the massive tax increases mandated, but not yet fully implemented, by Obamacare for health care (which will affect people differently based income) Carolina Beach faces several potential nightmare scenarios.
Aquatics Center: Proposed to cost around three-quarters of a million dollars for a large dome-covered swimming pool at Town Hall. The sales pitch says it will be paid for by revenues. People buying annual and daily passes as well as use by swim clubs, schools and other user-fees.
If they're correct, the cost to taxpayers is forecasted to be just under $10,000 a year. If those revenues don't materialize in this economy (you be the judge of economic importance) then taxpayers will be asked to cover that cost through property taxes.
That may require an unknown property tax increase.
Healthcare: Carolina Beach, like so many other local governments, are faced with the rising cost of healthcare and new federally mandated essential healthcare requirements.
The cost will be better known next spring when the Town begins planning for next fiscal year's budget. It's another potential increase to the property tax rate. The Town either absorbs the cost, or has to find additional revenue, to cover it. Pass that cost along to employees, or to taxpayers?
Beach nourishment and inlet dredging: The Federal Government has largely abandoned us on this front. The Town of Carolina Beach will have to put away around $600,000 a year in order to fund protection of our Island during storms and preserve a healthy beach for our vital tourism economy. Not to mention keeping the Carolina Beach Inlet dredged and open to safe passage. That's vital for our commercial charter fishing fleet and recreational and full-time resident boaters.
The Carolina Beach Town Council hopes a recent decision to eliminate a discount on vehicle passes for Freeman Park will generate upwards of $400,000 a year to that end. Although, the rest will have to come from some other revenue source.
Likely a property tax increase or sales tax if they can get state approval for such a tax.
That's not an exhaustive list of scenarios. There's more to come.
Considering the unpredictable nature of gas prices and the rising (skyrocketing) total on grocery bills, the total impact of an exact number is unknown. It's a sure bet the cost of living and government is not going to be less and a good bet it's going to get much worse especially for those on fixed incomes such as senior citizens.
For example, if you live more than 40 miles from a military base, and you're a veteran, you're going to pay more for your health coverage.
In North Carolina, Duke Energy wants to raise rates by 7 percent and lock in a 10 percent profit.
The state attorney general is taking that issue to court citing concerns of negative impacts on customers.
In June we will find out whether or not the State Department of Insurance will approve of a 30% coastal home owners insurance rate hike requested by the NC Rate Bureau earlier this year. It may be 30% or some lesser number, but an increase is on the way.
A lot of people are getting by now on a shoestring budget (if they can afford shoestrings) and when the healthcare tax kicks in it may not send them into the literal poor house, but it will eliminate a large chunk of their disposable income.
And for our tourism-based economy, people spending their disposable income has an added level of importance.
The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to lower their property tax rate this fiscal year. Yet that was after extensive debate over cutting the budget even though their faced with continuing to pay for the monkey on their back that is $4.3 million in property for a long-passed-failed State aquarium pier.
In short, even elected leaders are pretty sure they'll have to raise the property tax rate to cover previous expensive real estate purchases as well as balancing the budget to make ends meet based on last year's figures before forecasting what's around the fiscal corner. (Likely an economic vampire waiting to jump out and draw fiscal blood).
This isn't to point fingers or lay blame on any particular politician at the federal level; it's a reality check. All things indicate some level of increase upon the backs of taxpayers from the federal level down to the state, county and municipal levels.