July 23, 2015

As Legislators consider the Senate plan to establish a fairer system of sales tax allocation, think about the spending priorities in rural North Carolina compared to Charlotte.

In rural Robeson County, they haven’t built a new school since Jim Valvano coached the Wolfpack to the national championship. Read what county manager Ricky Harris said in Carolina Journal. “Robeson County hasn’t built a school since 1983,” Harris said. “We have 114 mobile units that we use in our schools.” He said the change would help pay for building new schools.”

But in Charlotte, they have the luxury of spending 1% of taxpayer financed building projects-millions of dollars-on public art.
A fairer sales tax allocation means bread and butter basics-schools, sewers and economic development-in rural North Carolina. In Charlotte, it would be about cutting a few frills. (

So while the General Assembly debates the sales tax, Republicans might recall some political history. In 2000, a Nash County bred Attorney General with a tough on crime reputation ran against a former Charlotte Mayor with a moderate image.

Mike Easley ran on helping forgotten small town North Carolina. He called it his vision of “One North Carolina.” Like they always do, the Democrats swept the big urban vote. Republicans couldn’t make up the difference in the rural and small town areas. Easley won comfortably.

In 2016, another Nash County bred AG with a tough on crime reputation will be the Democrat candidate for Governor. Republican leaders should sit down and resolve the sales tax issue with a fair solution that helps the forgotten parts of North Carolina. Or else, as Yogi Berra said, it might be deja vu all over again.