Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch said this week that a plan by Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and other commissioners on the board to reduce the property tax rate if voters pass a sales tax is just a “smoke and mirrors” move.
He said it just makes taxpayers think they’re getting a break on their taxes when in reality the county will be taking a lot more from taxpayers than last year.
Alston and others on the Board of Commissioners plan to vote on a resolution that will commit the board to a three-cent reduction in the property tax rate if voters pass a quarter-cent sales tax hike that’s on the ballot in May.
Alston said earlier this week that this would be a good way to take some of the burden off of property owners and put it instead on people who pass through the county, or who live in another county and work in Guilford County, or who rent a house in Guilford County but don’t own property.
Property owners pay the property tax, Alston said, but everyone who buys something in Guilford County pays the sales tax.
Upchurch, who was elected as a Democrat but later changed his party affiliation to Republican, said he wants to call out Alston on the sleight of hand, and he said that when people understand the nature of the countywide property revaluation – such as the one Guilford County conducted this year – they will see that Alston is doing no favors by reducing the property rate three-cents.
His point is this: The value of property across Guilford County went up in a major way over the last five years – the time since the last revaluation by the Guilford County Tax Department. With property in the county now on the tax rolls at much higher values, county property owners are going to be paying a lot more in property taxes even though the property tax rate will remain the same or be knocked down by three cents.
“My issue is with the circus he’s trying to orchestrate,” Upchurch said of Alston.
Upchurch said a three-cent tax decrease will save some people in the county money – but, in the end, they will still all be paying much, much more in property taxes.
“Many people don’t understand how the revaluation works,” Upchurch said.
Even a three-cent decrease, he said, won’t come close to making up the amount taxpayers would be able to keep if the county commissioners held the tax rate “revenue neutral.” – that is, if the board lowered the tax rate to a point where the county is pulling in the same about of revenue it did last year. That’s what a Republican-majority board did five years ago when the county held the last revaluation – the board set a new tax rate at a lower “revenue neutral” level.
Upchurch said that, though the final figures haven’t been released yet, county property owners would be getting something like a 10-cent tax decrease if the board was being honest about the situation and if the board really wasn’t raising property taxes in a subversive way.
Even if the property tax rate came down three cents, Upchurch said, the taxpayers are still getting a huge “hidden” tax increase because property values have shot up and – with those new values now on the books – property owners will be paying a whole lot more in taxes at the same old tax rate that the county has had for years.
Upchurch also said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Alston make this pledge not to raise the tax rate this year, but then do so in a big way in the following years. This week Alston said publicly that he wouldn’t support a property tax rate increase in the next four years, but Upchurch, who’s no fan of Alston’s, said Alston could go back on that pledge after the sales tax passes by saying “conditions have changed” or something along those lines.
Upchurch added that the other Democrats on the board support Alston no matter what he does.
“The other Democrats won’t oppose him – they never do,” Upchurch said. “There’s a hidden agenda behind this whole thing – he’s just doing anything he can to get the sales tax increase passed. I feel like he’s trying to deceive people
because many of them don’t understand how a revaluation works.”
Upchurch also said the quarter-cent sales tax hike has been voted down by a big margin several times before in Guilford County, but the county commissioners won’t listen to the voters. He added that, if it fails in May, voters are likely to see it again on the ballot in November.
“They’re trying to shove this thing down people’s throats,” Upchurch said.
Well said, now, could you send this to every property owner in Guilford County. Maybe a tweet, Fakebook, Instagram?
Bravo Commisioner Upchurch, you hit the nail on the head, it is smoke and mirrors, or to use another analogy, bait and switch. The county is raising more money from the revaluation, Skip is also right about the quarter cent being paid by others as well, but will it impact where people do their business, opting to do business where the tax rate is lower. One last thought, when was the last time you heard of rhe county or state removing or lowering a sales tax? Maybe if the sales tax had an experation date it would be more acceptable.
Yessir, once a democrat gets a tax, they are loathe to give it up. I remember how Governor Terry Sanford decided to remove the exemption of the 3% on food and prescription drugs, among other things, as a “temporary” measure to fund education. The last time I looked the taxes on sales, use and services is at 7.5% and has never been lowered. Skippy wants a 1.7 billion dollar bond issue for education though I seem to recall that over half the tax revenue derived is already spent on schools.. again,taxes somewhere or the other, will be needed to pay thos bonds. Tell me again the academic achievement record of NC Schools. We even got an education lottery, which is nothing more than a tax on folk who weren’t taught statistics in school ! Seems democrats are still tax and spend enthusiasts.
Yep, the tax on groceries was supposed to be temporary. It was infamously imposed by “Food Tax Terry” Sanford in 1961. I was born in 1961. We’re still being taxed on groceries. The Food Tax is no more temporary than me. I bet the families of this state will still be taxed on their food when I die.
“Temporary” my arse! No tax is ever temporary.
Government is the embodiment of greed.
Thanks Mr Upchurch for your honesty.This ploy by King Skip is to sock it to voters any and every way possible.I have said many times in this setting that the Dems are set on increasing your taxes at every turn ( the sky is the limit with these people).All people band together and vote down this ballot initiative that the commissioners have planned for the county.The next thing we can do is vote out these corrupt people.Let’s vote so that there is no Dems left to screw up our town and county.Get out and vote for a replacement for all Dems running for any office.Let’s be rid of them forever.
A Democrat is not your friend. Use your vote wisely.
Sheeple in Guilford County will give Skippy all sorts of praise for lowering the tax rate three cents in exchange for a half-cent increase in sales tax, when in reality, homeowners will see a tremendous increase in their property tax bill, despite the decrease of the promised three cents. This ploy has been used by liberals on the Commission before. When will people learn the risk they take when putting liberals in charge of the hen house. Or perhaps they will never learn. They haven’t in the past.
Thanks Mr. Upchurch for a breath of fresh air. I’m sure the democrats hate you for it. Keep speaking the truth and the voice of the voters will follow you.
I no longer do business in Guilford County. I am not alone in this opinion. Skip Alston and his cronies are exactly why. Greensboro is the east coast equivalent of San Francisco. Its too dangerous and too expensive. Enjoy!
Hewlit, I don’t either. I got used to spending my money in Rockingham County during the useless Guilford mandates and now I find no reason to change. Looking forward to leaving Guilford permanently the first chance I get. Never looking back! The political climate in Greensboro and Guilford County is the driving force. I suspect I am one of many.
Yeah because we are really at lost without you lol
We have at least ONE commissioner who is interested in taking care of constituents. Thank you Commissioner Upchurch!
It’s unfortunate that property owners are so ignorant about property taxes and how it all works. if they really knew what Alston is up to, I’m sure there’d be a lot of push back.
The quarter cent sales tax increase will NOT be approved by voters. Another incidence where Skippy thinks we’re stupid in thinking that people passing through Guilford County will pay the sales tax and take some of the burden off property owners.
Upchurch is out of his league.
Yes, what he said! And too, the Board of Education is right there in deception and sleight of hand. The corruption runs deep in Guilford County. We are not the priority here. The priority is the Democrat/liberal/ evil agenda.
Maybe the county should level a special tax on Corvettes.
Our property tax is a flat tax based on a value that is periodically marked to market. When there are changes, you get a formal notice in the mail. It’s probably the least “hidden” tax you’ll find in government.
I remember when a new an “equitable” sales tax was introduced in the UK. They called it Value Added Tax (VAT) and it was a bookkeeping nightmare for small business. It put many of them out of business. It used to be levied at 8%; now it’s 20%.
When I came to North Carolina our statewide Sales Tax was 4%. If this tax hike passes, it will be 7% in Guilford County – a 75% increase.
The Leftists who always cry that “it’s for the children” or “it’s just a Penny” are oblivious to the fact that every increase in indirect taxes kills off more businesses. Many businesses don’t ever reach a net profit of 7%, let alone 20% – and that’s before all the other taxes even begin.
Just vote NO to more taxes and bonds. The Parasitic Sector is obese enough.
my crazy tax idea : everyones first $10k tax free, then just 10% tax of all income, no deduct/adjust, of ALL $$ above $10k WITH x hours of public service performed every month. no property/sales tax. no $$ license do be allowed to do anything. just LOCAL, VOLUNTARY PUBLIC SERVICE qualifies for the 10%. many people ALREADY QUALIFY because of their civic mindedness & altruism. rotate teens thru gov’t departments as a warm up?
I agree with everyone about everything. It’s time for another Tea Party.