Letter: Why I challenge the “F” and question the logic used by the superintendent to support of the tax increase

Published 6:31 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

(Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to a rebuttal from Superintendent Jeff James published in Thursday’s SNAP.)

I first want to thank the superintendent for taking the time to read the letter and for taking time to write a full-page response. It was interesting to see a full article by the superintendent with the title of giving an “F” to my letter to the editor on the reasons why I am voting against the tax increase.

The superintendent and others continue to claim that Stanly has lower property values in comparison to Union and others as the primary reason for wanting to increase taxes. Which speaks directly to one of the many points I raised in how the county has such a high tax rate that discourages growth which is resulting in businesses moving to lower tax areas like Union and others.

Also, prior to writing the letter, I did confirm with the School Board that monies are in fact available to pay for the security improvements that are requested. As Melvin Poole stated in an email to me, the high schools have already been upgraded and fitted with security measures and there are monies earmarked to continue the improvements in the remaining schools even if the tax increase is not passed.

Therefore, the scare tactic being used by the superintendent is yet another example of one of the points raised in my letter in how the superintendent and elected officials are using a slogan to “scare” you into voting without giving the full account and facts of what has already been improved and plans for further improvement without a tax increase.

And, in keeping with the theme of challenging the “F” that proves the point of my letter, in that if the county is spending only $1,800 per pupil then, again, this shows that there are serious mismanagement and misappropriations of funds that is keeping the per-pupil costs low in comparison to other municipalities.

The question then becomes where are the monies being spent and why are the monies not properly appropriated? And the only answer received is Stanly has lower property values than other municipalities — and the talking in circles begin again, and this is not only from the superintendent — this is a line that is rehearsed by all.

So, in the interesting logic in the mind of the superintendent and the elected officials is that, because Stanly struggles with low property values and a declining population and a non-existent economic development strategy, let’s throw a tax increase. Yes, folks, this is truly the primary reason why the superintendent and elected officials want to raise taxes — because they have failed at their financial stewardship to bolster the county’s ability to attract businesses, keep residents in

Stanly County and promote and encourage growth.

This has resulted in — as the superintendent pointed out — low per-pupil cost and the need to raise taxes. Yes, a sales tax will spread the responsibility, however, if businesses are not coming to Stanly County then how effective is the sales tax rate really going to be?

Residents are still forced to shop in Concord, Mint Hill, Matthews and Charlotte because Stanly is not drawing businesses or people to our county.

In short, as has been stated to me, either side can find logic to support their position. And we have already seen how the superintendent and elected officials use misleading figures, data and distorted logic to support theirs. The fact still remains that a one-fourth cent increase in taxes is not necessary and is sending a message of discouragement for economic development which in turn will keep property values low and more and more residents moving elsewhere.

I am going to continue to hold the elected officials accountable to their jobs of fiscal stewards by voting “No” on the tax increase.

Mark Wireman