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Mayors from Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville gathered last week to discuss the current North Carolina General Assembly proposals for a sales tax redistribution from urban counties to rural counties describing the result as an effort to immediately create a welfare system for some counties. Mayors in Mecklenburg County are asking the North Carolina state legislature to rethink any proposal that would redistribute the state sales tax.

 “We need a vision to make our entire state more successful, said Jim Taylor, mayor of Matthews. “The current proposals don’t encourage growth in all areas, and in fact, make incorrect assumptions on our growth percentages for the future.”

Mayor Jack Edwards of Pineville agreed. “We can look at the long list of infrastructure and educational needs that we currently have, add those to the gaps we have to fill with the loss of privilege license tax and other challenges, and to actually have more taken away with the proposed sales tax distribution will have a negative impact on our growing communities.”

Discussion about the sales tax redistribution proposals led to a unanimous desire by the mayors’ group to encourage the legislature to formulate a plan for overall statewide success.

“We are all about competitive success, “ Cornelius mayor Chuck Travis elaborated, “Our regional economies should reach out to help our smaller communities in addressing their needs and at the same time, be able to compete for outside business and economic development with other states and regions.”

The mayors, including Davidson mayor John Woods and Huntersville mayor Jill Swain, detailed suggestions for success for some of the more rural counties, including a stronger community college program and offerings for apprenticeships, more transit options for access to jobs, visionary components for specific county needs.

“Not all regions are the same,” said Taylor, “Nor do they want to be. We need to focus on an area’s strengths and visions and work on success that way.”

Woods of Davidson agreed. “We think our legislators would understand that the cookie cutter proposal doesn’t help everyone. And helping everyone should be our collective goal.”

The mayors plan to send a letter to the legislature as well as to Governor McCrory with their thoughts and concerns. “We are mayors of different community sizes and mayors of different political leanings,” said Mayor Swain. “It should be – should be – significant that we are in unity on this issue.”
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