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Sales tax bill aims to wash away funding deficit

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Area beaches attract millions of dollars in tourism to North Carolina every year, but federal funding for beach nourishment has been slowly eroding just like many of our beaches. Now one local lawmaker has an idea to try to stem the tide financially.

"The beach is very important on many levels for the town and for the state,” said Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens. “Yes, funding is from the federal perspective and sometimes from the state perspective is not there when you need to do a project."

Representative Susi Hamilton, a Wilmington Democrat, said she recently introduced a bill that would help beach communities in their times of need.

House Bill 962 would give municipalities the option of a half-cent sales tax increase to use for beach nourishment.

"The good news about sales tax, particularly since it doesn't include food, is that it doesn't hit the citizens that hard,” said Bruce Shell, Carolina Beach Interim Town Manager. “If we tried to fund it by property taxes, it would hit their wallets pretty strongly. This way it allows visitors to come here and enjoy the beaches and spend money on sales tax, so that they're a contributor to the very issue that attracts the people."

The proposed half cent sales tax increase could add money back to the coffers for beach nourishment and local leaders say that opportunity is too good to let simply slip through our fingers.

"For every dollar spent on beach re-nourishment, $320 comes back in the form of commerce,” said Shell. “This creates jobs, sales tax, room occupancy tax, business for hotels, motels and restaurants, so it's all a part of our economic ecosystem.”

If House Bill 962 passes it would then be up to the voters of each municipality if they want the sales tax levied in their town.

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Read the Bill

Here is what your reporter missed:

First, it is HB 962, not 942 as reported at the end of the article.

Second, it is not limited to just the beach towns. It can be applied to any municipality in NC.

Third, the bill reads:

1 "§ 105-544.
(b) Use. – A municipality may use the net proceeds of a tax levied under this Article for
beach nourishment; street and sidewalk construction and improvements; traffic signals; street
lighting; street and directional signage; police, fire, and rescue services support; and services to
support public events and festivals."

So it is not limited to only beach re-nourishment. Will the Central Committee, er, Wilmington City Council use this bill to raise local sales taxes for other projects like street and sidewalk construction (despite a recent property tax increase supposedly for that purpose), or maybe "services to support public events and festivals" and siphon money off for other pet projects?

Please, WWAY, don't just parrot the press releases. Do a little investigation. What they may say it is, is not what is all that is in the bill.

Here is the link:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/PDF/H962v1.pdf

Corrected

Thanks for correcting the house bill number in your article, which originally indicated the wrong bill number in part of the article.

Now (as people in news media like to say all too often), we all look forward to your expanded investigation and reporting of the complete language of the bill.

Terrible job reporting

Holden-
No comment on this:
http://portcitydaily.com/2013/04/29/bill-from-hamilton-municipal-sales-t...

"The City of Wilmington’s legislative agenda had also noted the need for new revenue streams for “shoreline preservation, restoration and beach renourishment.” But during a planning session in November, Councilwoman Laura Padgett suggested that should also include a focus on the downtown riverfront.

“We don’t have a beach to renourish. We have totally supported our riverfront ourselves,” Padgett said at the time. “We have not gotten a dime from the beach renourishment funds to take care of this very expensive waterfront.”

The bill as written lacks apparent language to that end. It is in its first edition and sits currently in a House review committee.

City of Wilmington legislative liaison Tyler Newman said Monday the city is in conversation with Rep. Hamilton about adding broader “shoreline preservation” abilities to the bill that would allow proceeds for the riverfront.

Hamilton was not immediately available to discuss the bill Monday."

Here is the city wanting to TAKE money for River Walk calling it waterfront renewal.
What a bunch of morons.
I am ashamed of this council - all of them.

Vog

Why is it that DEMORATS

Why is it that DEMORATS first and only solution to any problem is TAX an SPEND????????????? for all the years Pork Barrel Mike has been on duty the best he can come up with is tax, tax and tax!! or better yet blank cardboard checks. Point being, Hamilton is in her first term and she must be running for a record on bill's introduced, but really she should sit back, take a deep breath, and introduce a bill and a solution, pumping sand or trucking sand to a beach only to watch it wash away again on the next blow is just pretty lame, talk about stopping development on barrier islands or terminal groins ok, talk about pouring "taxpayer" dollars down a bottom pit is treason.

LOL

Your just unpatriotic!

Having "that sand" in place...

...and keeping it in place is nothing less than vital to this areas primary economy! Without it, tourists stop coming and stop spending money here. What part about that do you find as "pretty lame"?

You are evidently NOT keeping up to date with news and current events. Federal funding for beach renourishment that has been in place for 50 years is expiring with little hope it will be reinstituted. Our government has to spend more and More money to keep the "entitlement recipients' and illegal aliens in food, clothes, housing, cell phones and health care, remember?

Please look up your words and understand their meaning before posting them with undue purpose, i.e. "treason".

YOu forgot

"Our government has to spend more and More money to keep the "entitlement recipients' and illegal aliens in food, clothes, housing, cell phones and health care, remember?"

And hand outs to MetLife, and the film industry as well.

Vog

Hey Vog

read one of the earlier posts. Funds could be used for street and sidewalks. My personal favorite is for public festivals and events.

Is this a backdoor way to fund the ballpark?

Tom

I read the bill.
First - ILM would have to VOTE to raise this tax on the local level. IF they don't raise the tax they don't get ANY money. This is a city tax, not a county tax.
As for sidewalks and festivals? in the definitions it says this:
"Beach nourishment. – The placement of sand, from other sand sources, on a
14 beach or dune by mechanical means and other associated activities that are
15 in conformity with the North Carolina Coastal Management Program, or
16 which have otherwise been authorized by the General Assembly, along
17 North Carolina shorelines and connecting inlets for the purpose of widening
18 the beach to benefit public recreational use and mitigating damage and
19 erosion from storms to inland property and transportation routes."

Later on this proposed bill says this:
"21 (b) Use. – A municipality may use the net proceeds of a tax levied under this Article for
22 beach nourishment; street and sidewalk construction and improvements; traffic signals; street
23 lighting; street and directional signage; police, fire, and rescue services support; and services to
24 support public events and festivals."
25 SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law."

so it would appear as though they want the money used for beach sand and roads that are impacted by erosion, but then give cities the right to use it for all roads, all streetlights and traffic lights an festival costs.

Now, considering that Rivenbark wants to set up a special tax area down town for down town festivals, AND that the ROT is already being diverted from county coffers to pay for the CC I think that the citizens of this city would rebel against a tax increase for Riverwalk maintenance - why? because we all pay sales taxes but very few of us use River Walk.
The city is grasping at straws trying to pay the ongoing costs for previous fiscal disasters.
You put in a street? You gotta take care of that street.
You put in a wastewater plant you gotta take care of that plant.
You want a river walkway you gotta take care of that walkway.

These people are nuts....

Vog

VOG

I am amazed there is not more of a cry to arms over this.

Consistently, whenever sales tax increases are a topic, there are repeated posts as to how an increase in sales tax impacts the lower income more than the higher income classes.

Why not here?

Is the assumption Wilmington will not undertake an increase for fear lynching parties may be scouring the streets looking for Mayor Coiffure and the Council?

Or is the issue the lower income classes will not be going to the beach; so the only ones really bearing the brunt of the increase are permanent residents and vacationers from up North?

What people don't

Pay attention to is that Rabon and crew are re-writing the tax code and hope to eliminate or reduce corporate taxes and eliminate or reduce state income taxes with a hefty rise in the sales tax.
When you add a municipality raising local sales taxes into the mix you can tax yourself right out of "tourism" dollars.

Because Susie is a )D) the Republicans will probably let this go back into committee to die a peaceful Democratic death.
Rabon's gonna screw the lower/middle class with his proposals never mind Susie's

Vog