North Carolina has a number of policies and practices to ensure budget sustainability for local governments and their taxpayers. Sales tax increases must be approved by voters at times when every precinct votes, which generally means in primaries or general elections and are acknowledged to be for general purposes. The Local Government Commission provides useful oversight of local debt and assistance for governments in financial straits. Counties notify property owners the new tax rate after reappraisal to keep government revenue constant. Votes on debt must state the expected property tax impact.
There is still room to improve with putting property tax hikes to a vote of citizens and restricting the growth of spending and debt. Spending and debt limits are critically important: Taxes are what people don’t like, but rising taxes are the result of excess spending as surely as hangovers are the result of other excesses.
“Colorado, New York, and Utah provide examples of policies that control or slow government spending, which will lead to property tax relief,” John Hendrickson states in his great overview of other states with good policies. He concludes, “unless spending is controlled, any property tax relief will be limited.”