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More NC Cities Are Chopping Jobs Than Hiking Taxes

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – Immediate feedback from a North Carolina League of Municipalities survey shows cities across the state are filling budget gaps by cutting expenses rather than raising taxes.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities sends out the annual survey to get a sense of the fiscal health of cities around the state.

More than a quarter of the surveys have come back, and the League's Research Director Karl Knapp says sales tax revenue dropped across North Carolina by about 4% in the last fiscal year.

Coupled with flat property tax growth and reserves that have already been tapped, Knapp says most cities are bridging their budget gaps by freezing benefits and firing staff.

"We're also seeing cuts that are actually affecting service levels, especially in the sanitation area cutting back on what's picked up and how often it's picked up."

Knapp says North Carolina cities that had enjoyed a housing boom have been hit especially hard, with construction permits down state-wide by 75%.

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