02/04/09 — County residents say no tax hikes until fat is cut

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County residents say no tax hikes until fat is cut

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 4, 2009 1:46 PM

Several Wayne County taxpayers say government on all levels needs to cut more fat before thinking about imposing any more taxes to deal with money problems, especially now with the economic woes the country is experiencing.

The country's economy was already hurting last year, and the congressmen voted to give themselves a raise, said Fred Clary of the Grantham area of Wayne County.

"They say it doesn't pay enough money to be a congressman, but everybody sure keeps running for it," he said.

Everybody else is having to live with less, said Ray Brown of Walnut Creek.

"Big business needs to operate without being bailed out," he said. "The very wealthy for the past 30 years have enjoyed a flat tax while those of us who work for a living have been paying progressive taxes."

For example, the sale of stocks from trusts and other securities that the rich live on are considered by the government as capital gains. And capital gains tax is a flat tax, he said.

It's time to start cutting, Clary and Brown said.

And with the economy in such bad shape, now is not the time to put any more tax on the people, said Wilber Shirley of Goldsboro.

"People are getting laid off from their jobs. Additional taxes would just be another burden on them," he said. "Our citizens and business people, we all have all we can carry."

But if there were an additional tax, Brown said he could live with a flat tax and an additional sales tax.

Nelson Mitchell of Goldsboro said he, too, believes he would be willing to pay more sales tax.

"I feel it's the fairest tax. If you spend any money, you pay the tax," he said. "But if they do that, they need to lower taxes somewhere else. And if you do that, go on and raise the food tax, too. Adding that one tax would do a whole lot for Wayne County."

Bob Crenshaw of Rosewood disagreed, though, saying that the sales tax is already fairly high.

"When you look at the big picture, I don't see that as a good thing to do," he said.

But, relatively speaking, countered Greg McDermott of Pikeville, North Carolina's sales tax is not that bad.

"I come from Canada. I was paying 15 percent sales tax. I'm used to it," he said.

A better idea, Crenshaw said, would be to base the gas tax on the cost of a barrel of oil. That way, the gas tax would be phased out when the gas prices are extremely high and less when the gas prices are moderately high. And then, when gas is cheap again, the tax would increase.

"When gas is above $2.50 a gallon, (the gas tax) should be gone. Nobody wants to pay on $3.50 a gallon. But when gas is below $2.50, nobody is going to feel it in their pocket book," he said.

Crenshaw said he suspects that somebody is making a lot of money between the barrels and the pumps.

"Something there needs to be taxed," he said.

Quarmel Crawford of Goldsboro said he could live with paying more gas tax, but he would have to be able to see a difference in the roads.

"I have to ride through pot holes," he said. "I'm tired of buying tires. They need to fix some roads around here. But all I see is them building more highways. Nothing is done on the inner-city roads. They're still in bad shape."

Something is going to have to change, McDermott said.

"But if we elect our leaders, we have to trust them to deal with the deficit."