Matthew Ridenhour For County Commissioner 2016

Tax Rate

Our tax rate is putting us at a disadvantage for jobs and residents when compared to surrounding counties. We are seeing wealth move to the surrounding counties from Mecklenburg, as well as businesses choosing to set up shop across our borders. To be competitive, we have to rein in spending, and make taxes affordable for all residents of Mecklenburg County. In 2013, Democrats rammed through a tax increase that was unnecessary. This year, I am fighting hard for a 2 cent property tax reduction.

Jobs and Unemployment

Our unemployment rate is high, and I refuse to accept that this is the “new normal”. We do a fair job of recruiting new companies to Mecklenburg, but we can do better. I am exploring the idea of “enterprise zones”, where we drastically cut taxes to corridors in order to encourage new development. Additionally, the process for opening a new business in Mecklenburg is tedious, which is exacerbated by a cumbersome county website. We need to streamline government, encourage growth through affordable taxes and enterprise zones, and provide an educated workforce. We do this, and we’ll see the unemployment rate drop.

Demand for Services

Data from local non-profits, and from the county, shows a growing need for public services such as school lunches, affordable housing, and health services. Too often, folks have to apply to several agencies, visiting several offices, in order to receive benefits from the county or our community partners. Serious conversations need to occur to umbrella these services to save money, but also to improve the efficiency of providing the services. The growing need in Mecklenburg County for public services is very concerning to me. It is too easy for some people to advocate for higher taxes to meet that need; then we end up with higher taxes, but not necessarily better services.