R912 Vision For 2011 - Project Public Service

“We have come to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions. I have asked the Cabinet and my staff a question, and now I put the same question to all of you: If not us, who? And if not now, when? It must be done by all of us going forward. - Ronald Reagan Second Inaugural Address

The Vision

Make Rutherford County be the best place in North Carolina for business and families to call home.

This statement on its own doesn’t accomplish much, however with the principles and values we have been standing on over the last two years, consider the following:

The Why:

  • Strong families are hinged on stable and plentiful employment opportunities.
  • Employment is dependent on businesses having a low cost structure and a low tax burden so that their money can be used to pay employees rather than pay for taxes.
  • As a county, we can not effectively change state and federal tax policy, fortunately state and federal taxes are an equal burden in all 100 counties in NC, so we are competing with the other 99 counties on a level plane.

Now, as the first rule of bear hunting goes: when being chased by a bear, you do not have to be faster than the bear, you just have to be faster than the other hunters.

  • As a county, we do not have to better than China, Russia, Texas or Alaska… we just have to be the best county in NC for businesses to grown and create jobs in.
  • When businesses look to expand or locate in NC, Rutherford county must be the only one that makes sense, and is miles above and beyond all others, standing out prominently and not just by a margin of 2-3%.
  • Consider a Rutherford County, being the only one with no local sales tax, and ½ the property taxes of the rest of the 99 counties in the state.
  • Everywhere else in NC you pay 8% sales taxes, except in Rutherford County you pay 5%. Where do you think sales offices would be located?
  • Everywhere else you pay 60 to 100 cents per $100 of property value, and in Rutherford County you pay only 25 cents.
  • Where do you think new warehouses, lumber yards and other high value facilities will be located?
  • The current model is to increase taxes so that temporary incentives can be given to businesses. However increased taxes kill businesses.
    • So our we pretend our poison is our cure, which is why we are dying as an economy.
  • The long term fiscally responsible cure are lower taxes acting as permanent incentive for every business new and existing.

The How:

The Goal

We know that reduced taxes can only happen when reduced spending takes place. So how do we make it possible for our county commissioners to even start considering reduced spending?

How do we make it possible for the county commissioners to put the county sales tax on the ballot for elimination and to cut the property tax rate by ½?

The Method

We do it by making it easy to cut spending not but cutting services, but instead by transferring those services into the private sector:

  • If you have background in realestate sales and management, you can research and document all property owned by the county which isn’t currently used. Include credible market value estimates with the projected property tax revenues if those properties are sold, with specific uses for the money collected from the sale (debt reduction and how that impacts the annual debt payments, etc).
  • If you have management or organizational experience consider starting an effort to organize local churches and other non government organizations with a reliable and accountable senior transportation service, which would take over the current service away from the county so that the county can eliminate the spending associated with this taxpayer funded service.
  • If you have restaurant or other large meal count experience take the time to organize local churches, soup kitchens, restaurants and other businesses to provide the meals on wheels for home bound senior citizens in the county so that the county does not have to finance that service.
    • Analyze and organize a non-profit meal service at the senior center where the meals would be served at cost without the county financing the meals at the senior center, while still providing low cost meals to seniors in the county. Make meal vouchers/sponsorship plans.
      • At our soup kitchen our food cost is about $1.25 per meal. The senior center reports over $4 per meal cost. I am sure there is a happy medium there which a private non-profit operation can achieve while not burdening the county taxpayers.
  • If you have interest and experience in operating membership based clubs and organizations, take the time to analyze and propose a membership and business financed senior center operation so that the county does not have to spend the $1/2 million per year to operate the center.
  • If you have experience in running transportation or waste management operations, consider taking the time to analyze and propose business plans for private ownership of the landfill, and find potential investors interested in owning and operating the landfill.
    • Analyze and propose business plans for private ownership of the convenience centers, so that private ownership and per visit and/or annual membership can finance the operation of the centers instead of taxpayers who not all make use of the centers.
      • How many people pay the $100+ per year while never using the convenience centers? A private solution will allow for competition in this area to keep the costs low and only applicable to those using these services.
  • If you have experience with sales, marketing or advertising, take on the effort to use existing private associations like the chamber of commerce, to accomplish the EDC’s role without the $1.3 million per year cost to taxpayers. This private effort can then bring each new business opportunity to the commissioners for incentive considerations instead of the incentives being budgeted on an annual basis. Having local business owners consider incentive requests might help bring some common sense which is rarely found in political circles.
  • If you have a passion or experience in teaching, take on the task to organize and lead 5000 year leap classes at the senior center. We need to start educating everyone we can reach that unless we all start changing, our republic stands no chance at surviving much longer.
  • Any other areas of experience, expertise or passion you may have, use it to change how our local government operates and spends money, so that we can empower our elected officials in reducing the size of our government without having to eliminate services which our neighbors need and are left with only the government to turn to.

What Next

Some may say these ideas are impossible and fantastic, which I don’t believe for a minute. However, not pursuing them will guarantee that they will never happen, as expecting our elected representatives to come up with all the details and ideas is just insane. They are elected to represent us and our ideas and goals, not to think for us while we watch them perform every month.

Don’t shy away from talking to our county employees when developing these plans, since they do work for us the taxpayers.

Use our 912 group to present these plans and receive constructive criticism so that when finally presented to the commissioners all kinks would be worked out, and the final result is ready for them to move into action with, instead of being left with a ½ cooked idea which they still have to put time and energy into.

Be prepared to head these initiatives, as without leadership every single of these ideas will sink into oblivion as will our credibility. Jennifer addressed the real need for all of us to look reality square in the eyes and take it head on.

Remember, the ultimate end of all of these initiatives is NOT to eliminate services, but to REPLACE them with more efficient private charitable operations, so that our government expenses can shrink, thus shrinking our tax burden, making us the #1 county in NC for businesses and families.

With every other county heading in a direction of more spending, more taxation and more empty incentives, this vision will put us miles ahead for a very long time. This does mean sacrifice in time and money, however i must be done…we must do it now, and it must be us.

The Result

When we do all of the above, we will be an example and an inspiration to other patriot groups and counties across North Carolina, ultimately enabling our state legislators to implement similar changes at the state level, making our entire state the best place to live, work and prosper.

References & Projects

Coming soon…

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