One of the unwritten rules of the City Council bit the dust with the Tuesday, July 26 election.
The rule was, “Don’t raise taxes in an election year.” The belief among members of the City Council for decades was that if they voted for a tax increase in an election year it would hurt their chances of being reelected.
Back before 2017, when the Greensboro City Council served two-year terms, this gave the taxpayers a break every other year. Taxes might be raised in even years when there was no election, but not in odd years when the entire City Council was up for election.
But the current City Council broke that rule in a big way with the largest tax increase in Greensboro’s history just over a month before the City Council election. On Tuesday, June 21, the City Council voted for about a 30 percent tax increase and on Tuesday, July 26, all seven members of the City Council that voted for that tax increase were elected to serve four-year terms.
As it stands now, the only member of the nine-member City Council who did not win on July 26 was District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling, who was running for mayor against Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
Both Outling and Vaughan voted against the budget and the huge tax increase, but neither took decisive action to try and keep the tax increase from passing. It appeared to be much the same as when there is considerable neighborhood opposition to a rezoning request and the city councilmember representing that district votes no, but everyone knows that the rezoning will pass. The budget clearly had the votes to pass without the support of Vaughan and Outling.
In this case, At-large City Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Hugh Holston, District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower, District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells, District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann and District 5 City Councilmember Tammi Thurm all voted for the tax increase and won their respective City Council races.
With no price to pay for raising taxes, it seems a safe bet that taxes will continue to increase.