Garner leaders were in Raleigh recently to hear from legislators about what’s happening on Jones Street. While they were there, the governor stopped by.
He knew, as did every other legislator in the General Assembly that recent changes proposed by the General Assembly and later adopted by McCrory, would not sit will with municipal leaders.
In the course of his remarks, McCrory promised to help towns find new revenue streams to replace money they will lose with the repeal of the business license fee.
Proponents of the ban argued that the fee was being levied in a haphazard way across the state, with some communities charging high fees and others charging nothing at all.
Opponents say repealing towns’ and cities’ ability to levy the fee will cause financial hardships on the towns.
In and of itself, the loss of that fee won’t cost the town of Garner a whopping ton of money – something over $30,000 per year. But it’s a loss nonetheless. That amount of money could help pay for a police officer. It could help fully fund the fire department. It could help pay down debt on the recently approved bond issue.
The number of places that money could go is nearly infinite.
The General Assembly, in its zeal to refocus the tax code – which isn’t necessarily a bad idea – is causing some collateral damage that it may not have intended.
Therein lies the most likely reason McCrory made his promise. It’s well known that McCrory is, himself, a former mayor. In his previous political life, he had to do battle with the state to make sure the city of Charlotte had the resources it needed.
Now he’s promising town’s all over North Carolina, including Garner, that he will make the town’s whole.
It’s worrisome, though, that McCrory issued no concrete steps regarding just how he’s going to do that.
Until he can point to some specific source of revenue and tell people like Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams that’s where the money’s coming from, it will continue to sound like an empty promise.
And that would serve no one well.