Category: Sales Tax

Autonomous Vehicles are coming, is your city ready?

Do you want your bonds to kill your city’s bond ratings?

Do you want your bonds to go into default?

Do you want to be responsible for a backlash against the mayor/council for not planning for a future you should have known was coming?

Do you want your city to become even more clogged with traffic, but this time the cars are empty and slowing everyone down?

Ignoring autonomous vehicles (AVs) may be possible today, but just know, they are coming soon–and by soon I mean this year (2017). While AVs may not yet be mainstream transportation today, do not count on it just being something your grandkids use. Cities have to start planning now, or their leaders will be saying YES (begrudgingly) to those questions above. A new report out from the folks at the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon is looking to help you deal with these questions. You can read our report here.

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Senate Bill 126: You down with this SB? Yeah, you know me… So you know that it is complicated.

There has been a great deal of interest in the distribution of local sales tax revenue in North Carolina in the past few years.  I will admit that as a scholar of local sales tax policy and effects, it has been an interesting time to be in the state (and made me much more popular!).  Not surprisingly, I have been having a lot of conversations with people across the state about SB 126, so I thought I would put some of my thoughts down on proverbial paper.

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LOST: Finally explained! Mysteries Solved! Secrets Revealed! Part 3

Previously on Death &Taxes, we learned that LOSTs and North Carolina’s local governments have a complicated relationship and that LOSTs favor some counties more than others.

There are many important characters in the story of LOSTs and North Carolina.  There are the earmarks, the revenue that goes to the municipalities, the revenue that is distributed on a per capita basis, and the tax on food.  I will let you decide which is Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Locke.  However, I am going to just come out and say, the black smoke monster is the issue of equity across the counties. Continue reading

LOST: Finally explained! Mysteries Solved! Secrets Revealed! Part 2

Previously on Death &Taxes, we learned that LOSTs and North Carolina’s local governments are important to each other, but dare I say it, have a complicated relationship.

LOSTs are an important source of revenue and some of that revenue is earmarked, but that is not why they have been receiving so much attention.  The reason they have suddenly been a part of the tax reform discussion is the perceived inequity of the revenue raising capacity of different counties across the state. Continue reading

LOST: Finally explained! Mysteries Solved! Secrets Revealed!

Lost Season 6 Cast, Source: Indie Wire

If you were like me, then you were not satisfied with the series finale of Lost and you are hoping that this blog by a faculty member at UNC is somehow is going to put it all together for you and redeem the show.  Sorry, I am here to blow your mind with revelations about LOSTs or local option sales taxes.  Wait, wait, do not be too disappointed.  LOSTs are actually a hot button issue these days and are vital to financing local government in North Carolina…and spoiler alert the blog is called “Death and Taxes” so hopefully you saw this coming (more than the lame conclusion of Lost).

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Welcome!

Benjamin Frankin, (1706-1790) , North American printer, publisher, writer, scientist, inventor and statesman. Source: Wkipedia

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

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