Archive for October, 2012

Daily Tar Heel Questionnaire

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Questionnaire

Name: Chris Weaver

Age: ?

Town/City: Caldwell

Career/Occupation: Self employed Marine Contractor

Political Affiliation: Republican

Political Career: I have Zero Years of Bureaucratic training.

 

If elected, what are your top three goals you want to accomplish during your term?
1. End the gerrymandered structure that allows for district interference in the Commissioner Election process. The result of which is the entire Board catering to the larger voter base of one district.

2. Expand Economic development

3. Reduce Taxes and Regulation

What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

There never has been a Republican elected to the commission in this county’s history. A famous leader once said, “If everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is thinking”. This applies to governing bodies as well. If everyone on the Board thinks the same way, there will be no change in Orange. The political make up of the board is going to shift hard to the ideological left when the unchallenged commissioners arrive from Chapel Hill. As a token Republican for diversity’s sake I would not be alter the balance of principles, but I can provide a voice for a large population that has been marginalized in the county and provide an ideological check.

What is your opinion on the proposed transit plan?
The Light rail portion is an albatross. It will confiscate resources from an otherwise good Bus plan. The Light Rail is track is minimal in Orange County but will absorb the bulk of Local, State and National taxpayer monies. It is funded by a Legacy Tax that will never end and property owners of this county will pay for it in their sleep. The Proponents of the Rail have been selling the plan to Students who will not pay the tag fees as they own no vehicles or are not required to register them in Orange. The supposed economic development along the scant 4 miles in Orange will face the First District’s historical hostility towards growth, and will never offset the costs of the portion in Orange AND the portion in Durham that Orange citizens will be responsible for.

How would you increase economic development and the local economy?
Less taxes + less regulation = more economic freedom. It’s pretty simple but it works every time it is tried. We have dedicated economic development zones, but prospective industry still must contend with our 700 pages of regulatory restrictions and our soon to be 4th highest property taxes in the state. This makes it near impossible to compete with neighboring counties who have only 70 pages of regulations and greatly reduced property taxes. Water and sewer alone are not strong enough magic to overcome a mountain of red tape. Taxes and regulation that drive industry to sit outside of our borders must be addressed and fast as we are rapidly loosing share. The Walmarts, Cabelas, Tanger Outlets, and Malls strategically avoid Orange for the sole reason that it makes good business sense to avoid Orange. If it practical for retail, it is practical for other industry except Non Profits which can avoid the Taxation. If I am hired to serve the Citizens to the Board of Commissioners, it would send a signal of change in Orange to the business world. I will not be able to push the door open with out help, but business leaders would know there is someone trying to open the door.

How would you diversify Orange County’s tax base, which is predominantly generated by property taxes?

As I noted, less taxes and less regulation will accomplish this. If for nowhere else, the economic development districts must have greatly reduced burdens of both to attract industry. The key is not allowing Government to spend the tax revenues generated by increased development, but make sure the monies are returned to the citizen in greatly reduced taxes.

What is your plan for remediation in the Rogers-Eubanks community?  Do you have any plans beyond the water and sewage hookups that have already been promised?

Fix it.  The government that created and poisoned the land, and then made 40 years of promises should not wait another day. As local governments quibble about who owes what, time is wasted. Orange County should do exactly as the regular citizen does when short on money, sell something.

Orange County has been in the land buying business and owns prime real estate that can be sold to offset the costs of such an egregious mistake. The land must be made safe if possible in addition to the water and sewer improvements. If the costs and the risk of opening up a superfund site in trying to re-mediate the soil then selling prime real estate should perhaps become trading prime real estate. The Blackwell property is large enough and not to far removed.

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Pro Train Tax Forum at UNC

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Transit, Uncategorized on October 9, 2012 by seaweavermarine

It snowed last Monday night in Howell Hall on the UNC Campus. Light Rail Proponents ( former students), sought to bond with the meager crowed assembled for an “overview” of the proposed light rail tax noted it was wonderful the school finally installed AC in the hall. It was not required last night. It was below 50 degrees outside and the snow job broadcast to the audience to sell the Light Rail Tax to students was enough to put a chill into any real taxpayer of Orange County.
Only the happy aspects were presented. The Triangle Transit Treasurer doubling as the Orange County Commission Chairwoman, the Leader of the Sierra Club, Chapel Hill’s Chamber of Commerce Director, and an Author of a book on the Triangle were present.

Each had about a fifteen to twenty minute power point presentation touting all the wonderful things the Tax could do. Only the rosiest projections were cast except for when fear was required to make a pitch.

That fear came in the form of a projected 1.7 million new people moving to the “Triangle” and how best to cope with their transportation needs. The problem for me, was the Triangle Transit wiz and author of the “everything you want to know about the Triangle” book, could not tell the crowd what was going to draw this mass of humanity to Orange County.
What rate of growth in Orange is projected to accommodate this mass? He could not answer. Orange County has been run by one party for 122 years. It is historically hostile to any private development or industry. What sea change in philosophy could possibly occur to allow for industry and housing to build on a scale to accept or even attract this projected influx of people? Again, the guy who wrote the book had no answer. I can only suppose he had not taken into account the political history of the county or the election structure that allows a “Progressive” district to dictate the course of the entire county. Perhaps he had not considered a 700 page Unified Development Ordinance(regulations) that is 100 times larger than our neighboring county.The Chairwoman for Orange County said nothing about this massive regulatory hurdle being amended for the Economic development districts…what’s the point short of location?

My question as to the 200% increase in Tag Tax in relation to a populace that votes for the Transit Tax (and thus the Tag Tax) and their ability to avoid not paying the Tag tax as the bulk of students have cars registered out of state… was met with no satisfactory answer, but I did note the Triangle Director giving instructions to the “moderator” to shut down the meeting after the weak attempt.

I’m still not certain who proposed this meeting this meeting; it was published electronically 23 hours before it occurred. Beside the cast I mentioned, the Director and Planners of Triangle Transit were also present as well as at least two reporters and one  Pro Rail campus organizer. As far as I could tell I was the only opposition to the Rail Plan in attendance. Other County Commissioners I spoke to were not aware that it was taking place neither was a great portion of the public.

This was a targeted sales pitch to one select group of voters and in the interest of “transparency” it was released to one electronic media outlet at 8pm on a Sunday. Triangle Transit had enough notice to have 3 of their top brass in attendance. The Treasurer of Triangle Transit and Orange County Board Chair Bernadette Pelissier had notice to pull together a power point presentation as did Aaron Nelson, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

This is how Government works in Orange County. When a tax is needed, it knows where to curry votes. Drop some snow on the steep slopes of any lecture hall on UNC Campus… blow it around to hide the pitfalls and only invite your “friends”.
I am not anti-public transit. I am anti Light Rail. The Federal Transit Administration Data shows it is a failure and a burden to every local economy that implements it and to our In Debt Nation as a whole that foots the greater portion of the bill.

Government “transparency” makes the snow job hard to see in this picture

Orange County Residents pulling the Light Rail Load for the greater “Triangle”

New Tax Would Do Next to Nothing to Relieve Congestion

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2012 by seaweavermarine

http://www.carolinajournal.com/daily_journal/display.html?id=9544#.UG464jO64l8.facebook

 

Oct. 4th, 2012

RALEIGH — Orange County voters will decide in November whether to raise taxes on themselves to help “invest” $1.4 billion toward construction of 17 miles of transit line that would have a miniscule impact on traffic congestion and air pollution.

Transit supporters don’t highlight this fact. A draft plan written by the area’s transit and regional planning agencies provides glowing verbiage about rail transit’s benefits. “These investments would positively impact traffic congestion,” it proclaims.

But promises of a “positive impact” on congestion have not panned out in other cities that have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on rail transit. Of the 33 U.S. cities with some form of rail transit, only six account for more than 1 percent of the passenger miles traveled in the region, and 22 carry less than one-half of 1 percent. Does Orange County want to be like San Jose, where rail makes up 0.42 percent of passenger miles traveled? How about Denver (0.44 percent) or Dallas (0.26 percent)?

Perhaps North Carolina is better-suited to rail transit. Some cite Charlotte as a great rail success story that Orange County should follow. But Charlotte’s light rail cost about $561 million — more than double the initial estimates — and accounts for a whopping 0.07 percent of all passenger miles traveled in the region. Has that “investment” significantly reduced traffic congestion and air quality? Hardly.

In addition, ridership on Charlotte’s light rail peaked in July 2008 and has declined almost 15 percent since. It costs taxpayers more than $40 for the average commuter to go to and from work each day. The light rail uses more than twice the energy per passenger mile as a Toyota Prius. Do Orange County residents really want to pay higher sales taxes and vehicle registration fees for abysmal results like this?

Orange County rail transit supporters argue that state and federal taxpayers will pick up 75 percent of the construction costs. In today’s political climate, that is a very risky bet. The U.S. House opposes funding additional rail projects; a recent compromise transportation bill included funding — with tighter eligibility standards — only because of the Senate’s demands.

Given the new standards, Orange County’s size and population density, and the project’s cost, it is unlikely federal funds would be forthcoming. State funds are also questionable. The General Assembly is looking long and hard at funding rail projects, especially as unemployment remains high and state budget dollars scarce.

Wake County commissioners recently cited economic factors, and concerns about high costs and small benefits, in rejecting a plan to place a transit tax on Wake’s ballot. In late July, Atlanta-area voters rejected a proposed 1-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects that many thought were top-heavy on costly transit extensions.

Even Charlotte’s light-rail expansion plans are in trouble. The planned Red Line running north from the Queen City to Iredell County ran into a brick wall when Iredell commissioners voted unanimously to reject a creative financing plan based on tax increment financing. Commissioners also heeded warnings from national experts who questioned the proposal. Meanwhile, the Blue Line running to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus is likely to run over budget, if it is funded at all. The city also recently dropped a capital plan that included a proposed $119 million streetcar.

If Orange County voters want a transportation plan that provides relief from traffic congestion, they will vote against new taxes and fee increases. They will send county government planners back to the drawing board. Rail transit will do nothing to address the area’s real transportation needs.

Sanera recently retired as director of research and local government studies at the John Locke Foundation