North Carolina Car Rental Tax Passed ‘Under The Radar'

The legislative approval for Charlotte-Mecklenburg County in North Carolina to raise its rental car tax to pay for a cultural arts campus should not have happened the way it did, according to an opinion piece in The Charlotte Observer last week.

The North Carolina House recently approved Mecklenburg County’s move to hike its rental car tax from 11 to as much as 16 percent. The additional funds would help defray the $158.5 million cost of five new cultural arts venues in Charlotte that would be part of a planned office tower and arts complex built by Wachovia.

With the closest museums and theaters in Raleigh, the cultural facilities are an urgently needed resource for the region and the proposal should have passed on its merits, according to The Charlotte Observer.

The author argues that an increase in the car rental tax is a solid way to fund Charlotte's portion, since Mecklenburg's car rental tax is two to three percent below that of North Carolina's other large cities.

Because the local legislative delegation was not unanimous in its support of the rental car tax hike, making it unlikely that the bill would have passed, the measure was slipped through as a provision in a bill that does not identify Mecklenburg, says nothing about a rental car tax and channels the resulting funds on a convoluted path.

The Charlotte Observer calls this legislation sneaky, saying that the evidence of manipulation and secrecy involved invites bad laws and poor policy.

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