Shrinking tax bases create dilemma: trim budgets or raise taxes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

SALISBURY — With property values plunging in the recent revaluation, governments across Rowan County are faced with a tough decision: slash budgets or raise taxes.
In most years, elected officials arguing for a tax increase want to add services or employees, or sock away the extra money for a rainy day. This year, any tax hike would likely mean maintaining the status quo, at best.
It’s called revenue neutral, and it simply means the tax rate a governing body would need to set to generate the same amount of money in an upcoming fiscal year as the tax rate did this year.
After a typical revaluation, the debate over a revenue-neutral rate centers around whether to cut taxes or use the increased tax base — the total value of all taxable property — and the resulting windfall, to add or improve services.
Not this year.
For details, see Sunday’s Salisbury Post.