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Foxx looks to compromise on taxes
Mayor offers 2 scenarios on capital funding
 
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 8:17 pm
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is looking for a compromise on capital improvements.


Foxx presented council a pair of five-year budget proposals to City Council in a letter sent to members today, saying the options would deal with the city’s impending “fiscal cliff” in fiscal year 2014.


“Everyone seems to understand the fiscal cliff awaiting the city in 2014,” Foxx wrote. “Council members are torn between paths of fiscal responsibility; not raising taxes at all and raising them as necessary to promote the long-term health of the city.”


Foxx acknowledged his resignation to scaling back the more ambitious eight-year plan he backed earlier this year. In his letter to council, he offered a plan that would cut overall spending and raise taxes by 1.97 cents but cuts out the controversial streetcar project along with all transit funding. Council shot down a 3.6-cent tax hike crafted by retiring City Manager Curt earlier this year, while Foxx vetoed a 2.44-cent scenario.


“If the city council approves this budget, it would achieve the objective of preserving our AAA bond rating, ensuring community safety, building roads and bridges as recommended, strengthening neighborhoods and addressing affordable housing needs,” Foxx wrote.


“It is not anyone’s first choice but it may be the common denominator option that builds strong city council, perhaps bipartisan, consensus to move our city forward.”
The second option is a more ambitious program that would fund $803.7 million over five years – a 12 percent reduction over Walton’s original plan. The proposal would call for a 3-cent tax increase and includes the streetcar with transit funding.


The council can also opt to do nothing and leave the decision up to the next council, which would take office in 2013. The downside for that Foxx warns, is the a possible downgrade of the city’s rating with companies that finance capital bonds.


“If we fail to act, the next city council will have seven months to determine an answer and if it fails to decide or if voters reject any resulting bond referendum, Charlotte will lose its AAA bond rating,” Foxx wrote. “The better course is clearly for us to resolve this issue. If we are unable to do so with these two options now on the table, that’s what I will support.”

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