CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) released an action alert to its supporters today encouraging them to contact two LGBT-friendly city council members whose positions could threaten domestic partner benefits as local leaders continue their stand-off on a proposed budget.
“MeckPAC is requesting that Charlotte LGBT citizens call Councilwomen Beth Pickering and Claire Fallon and urge them to vote on a budget that retains Domestic Partner Benefits for Charlotte’s LGBT City employees,” the group wrote to supporters. “Pickering and Fallon are drawing a line for tax increase at 2.44% to balance the reduction in tax rate that the County has proposed. However, this tax rate puts Domestic Partner Benefits at risk.”
The Charlotte City Council has been in a protracted debate over the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget after a stunning 6-5 vote on June 11 rejecting a proposed spending plan. Four Democrats joined with the council’s two Republicans in voicing concern over a proposed eight percent property tax increase designed to help pay for a nearly $1 billion capital improvement plan proposed by City Manager Curt Walton.
Walton’s capital improvement plan includes funding and a series of bond referendums meant to invest city spending in future-growth projects and in areas of the city long-neglected by local government. Mayor Anthony Foxx supports the plan and says it is necessary if the city wants to expand its future tax base.
Council members have wrangled over increasing city property taxes. Republican Andy Dulin wants no increase. His colleague, Warren Cooksey, would support a tax increase up to 2.44 percent, the same amount the county decreased their property taxes earlier this year. Democrats on council have had mixed views.
A proposed streetcar project has also been a focal point of debate. Democrats David Howard, Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield have supported the streetcar plan. Mayfield told The Charlotte Observer that she is against “any delay, any cut” to the project.
Howard, Kinsey, Mayfield and John Autry and James Mitchell have proposed a 3.16 percent tax increase compromise.
The council will hold a special meeting on Monday at 1:30 p.m. to come up with a final compromise budget before adopting a final plan that evening.
For more information on the MeckPAC call to action, read their statement at Facebook.