The Garbage Tax

Hickory’s been losing jobs for a decade – over 30,000 jobs. As a consequence, our streets are lined with shuttered mills and factories. The problem arises when a business person comes to town considering locating a store or plant here and one of the first things in view are rows of empty buildings. It makes one wonder – is Hickory the best place to move to?

I joined others supporting a moratorium on demolition landfill fees to encourage private sector clean-up of derelict factories and mobile homes littering our local landscape. After we remove the debris, we can get on with rebuilding.

In response, my Democratic opponent for the State House weighed in against even a temporary tax cut for all Catawba County citizens and local officials pointed out that nearly 10% of the ‘garbage taxes’ I opposed were state imposed.

The state ‘garbage tax’ is a hidden tax so few have heard of it. Every time you pay a ‘tipping fee’ at the landfill directly or indirectly (the waste fee in your municipal utility bill), $2.00 of the $23.00 per ton goes straight to the Department of Revenue in Raleigh.

In all, NC citizens send to Raleigh $24 million a year in ‘garbage taxes’. What happens to that money? First, the Department of Revenue takes $225,000 off the top for ‘collection’. With 132 landfills in North Carolina sending quarterly garbage taxes to Raleigh, Revenue is handling 528 checks per year for a fee of $426 per check.

Next, Department of Environment and Natural Resources “retains” another $1,050,000 for ‘staffing.’

We send $24 million to Raleigh only to have $1,275,000 raked off by the bureaucracy and then they send the rest back to the communities the money came from in the first place. The solution is obvious: Eliminate the tax, cut the landfill fees and just keep the money here at home.

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