February 6, 2006

Dare County and Nags Head #1 again

In a report released today the conservative policy analysts of the John Locke Foundation again ranked Dare County and Nags Head the best in their respective categories. They released their annual analysis of tax burden per capita,John Locke Foundation | By The Numbers 2006: What Government Costs in North Carolina Cities and Counties . This report calculates the amount of local revenue divided by a county or communities permanent population. Since Nags Head has a very low permanent population but a large service population in the summer this ratio is very high, almost 15% higher than the next town in our category (towns 1,000 to 4,999). All of Dare County towns ranked in the top ten in their category with 2 firsts (KDH and NH), a second (Manteo), 2 thirds (KH and Duck). Southern Shores lagged behind at 7th in that Nags Head lead. This means that new Mayor Don Smith now heads a town with one of the largest per capita tax burdens in the state. Shame on you Mayor Smith.
In defense of the authors they have included some disclaimer. This year the refer to Dare Counties summer tourist population and in past years they have identified coastal communities as special cases due to the difference between permanent population and service population.

They also point the finger where it really belongs to the legislature in Raleigh:
“Taxpayers are paying an increasing share of their income to city and county governments in North Carolina, for a variety of reasons,” said Chad Adams, CLI director and a Lee County commissioner. “One of the causes has been the willingness of officials in Raleigh to balance the state budget by imposing additional costs on local government or taking away their traditional revenue streams.”

Here is a comparison. Nags residents pay over twice the local taxes that Charlotte residents pay:
Nags Head Dare $5,191.51
Charlotte Mecklenburg $2,185.13

Interstingly, the press release announcing the report doesn't even give Nags Head credit for the highest combine ratio in the state. It fails to mention either NH or Dare County instead focusing on the evil city of Charlotte.

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