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 In the News, July 27, 2010 

TAXES

Opinion: Amazon pulls completely out of N.C. over sales tax law. We’ve received numerous reports of Amazon Associate members in North Carolina receiving emails stating that Amazon is going to have to discontinue the service there due to a pending change the in state’s tax structure. Sometime in the next two weeks, Amazon expects that it will be terminating the service for all North Carolina residents. … So what exactly is this “unconstitutional tax collection scheme”? Here’s what the site news-record has to say: The tax change is part of a package passed by the House last week in its attempt to rewrite the budget. Lawmakers are struggling to fill what they say is a $4.5 billion gap between the money needed to keep government operating as it is and the revenue the state is due to take in next year. As part of the effort to bridge that gap, House members broadened the number of items to which state sales tax would apply and have to be collected by retailers. The tax on the category “digital click-throughs” under which the Amazon agreements fall would raise $13.2 million next year, according to estimates by the General Assembly’s fiscal research arm.

 

ABC SYSTEMS

ABC board discusses impact of bill. In their first meeting since the ABC reform bill was signed into law, members of the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC board discussed its local impact Thursday. “There is a requirement —new for almost all of us (local ABC boards) — that is going to require a balanced budget by every ABC system in North Carolina,” said board member Marny Hendrick. “You have to put it out there for public scrutiny, adopt it and monitor it.” The first such budget must be completed by June 1 and adopted by July 1 next year. Hendrick said the state ABC Commission will provide templates for local boards to use.

N.C. governor keeping options open for revenuesA day after Gov. Beverly Perdue signed into law a bill banning video sweepstakes games, she suggested she'd listen to proposals to legalize video poker again in North Carolina. And after Perdue signed a bill designed to reform the state Alcoholic Beverage Control system, she said she still was interested in privatizing parts of the liquor system, although the idea was panned before this year's session began. An outside evaluation of the system is moving ahead. "I am not through with the ABC system yet," Perdue said.

 

ANNEXATION

Opinion: Is there a better way? Sometimes there really are two sides to an issue.  Annexation is a good example.  Folks in the surrounding area make the argument:  I’m against being annexed – my property taxes would go up but I get nothing, no new or better services, in return.  Folks within the city say:  Annexation is fair because folks outside come in every day for jobs, shopping and recreation so they should contribute too.  And annexation is why Charlotte and Raleigh are vibrant cities and Richmond and Norfolk are not.  It’s why North Carolina has three national franchise sports teams and Virginia has none.

Editorial: Hands off. Millions of Americans are getting angrier by the day over continued government intrusion in their personal lives and bank accounts. The anger and frustration with the Federal Government is well documented by numerous public rallies opposing national health care, increased income taxes and a variety of legislative controls that only further stifle private initiatives. But there is growing frustration with the N.C. Legislature as well. Of particular note is the growing dissatisfaction with the legislated power that municipalities have to forcibly annex outlying property. Despite continued requests from property owners across the state, the legislature continues to avoid reforming the state’s annexation laws.

 

GENERAL

Town finds online outlet for surplus. The Town of Fuquay-Varina is among 3,182 governments nationwide, including 398 other North Carolina governments that have adopted GovDeals’ online auction solution. GovDeals (www.govdeals.com), an online auction service for City, County and State governments and agencies, to conduct online sales of their surplus property and equipment. GovDeals is specifically designed to enable governmental entities and their agencies the ability to sell surplus and confiscated vehicles, assets and property over the Internet, as well as to support redistribution of excess assets within public institutions. Since 2003 GovDeals has assisted North Carolina governmental agencies in the sale of over $37 million worth of surplus and seized property.