Two updates from the prepared meals tax front.
As the H-S reported yesterday, the liberal-leaning People's Alliance voted on Wednesday night to endorse the 1% levy on restaurant meals and prepared foods, a tax option that requires the approval of voters in the November election.
Paul Luebke -- the Durham state representative who blocked the local option tax for years, and agreed to let it move forward only with the shackles of a voter referendum -- called the PA's move a departure from its progressive roots.
In response, the H-S notes backers repeated their argument that property taxes have a greater regressivity than taxes on food. The latter argument, plus lobbying from progressive-affiliated local elected officials, won the day.
Meanwhile, Durham County Democratic Party chair Kevin Farmer told BCR on Friday that the party was unlikely to take a stand on the levy in advance of the fall election.
The matter came before party leadership in a recent meeting at the behest of some unnamed local Democrats, but the Dems couldn't muster a quorum to take a vote on the matter.
Update: Read the PA-PAC's press release after the jump.
Notable (but not surprising) in the PA's endorsements: Jumpin' Joe Bowser doesn't get the endorsement for County Commission, alone out of the five candidates.
Durham People’s Alliance Endorses Referendum
At a meeting of Durham People’s alliance held on September 24, members of the organization engaged in a spirited discussion over the wisdom and desirability of the proposed one percent prepared meals tax, which will be the subject of a referendum on the November 4 ballot.
The tax would be added to the cost of restaurant meals and other prepared foods sold in Durham county. If passed, the money will be applied to a series of projects in certain categories determined by the city and county governments.
During the discussion, PA members sharpened their understanding of the balance between the impact of the tax on ordinary citizens and the local governments’ need for a reliable funding source in addition to the property tax. After a well-informed and spirited debate, the People’s Alliance decided to lend its support to the tax referendum.
Following this general membership meeting, the PA convened a meeting of its Political Action Committee, in which the PAC voted to confirm its earlier support of Barack Obama. With this vote, the PAC is now strongly endorsing the Obama-Biden ticket for the November election.
The PAC also revisited the contest for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor and after considerable debate, voted to endorse Democratic nominee Walter Dalton. The candidate endorsed for the Democratic primary in May, Hamp Dellinger, failed in his bid.
In the three-person contest for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, PA-PAC endorsed Durham native Kathryn Spann, who has served on the Farmland Preservation Board, is a resident of rural northern Durham County, and cares deeply about land conservation. She has the will and experience to assist local landowners in their soil conservation efforts.
List of all Durham People’s Alliance PAC Endorsements:
President and Vice-President - Barack Obama and Joe Biden
U. S. Senate - Kay Hagan
U. S. Congress - David Price
Governor - Bev Perdue
Lt. Governor - Walter Dalton
Attorney General - Roy Cooper
Auditor - Beth Wood
Commissioner of Agriculture - Ronnie Ansley
Commissioner of Insurance - Wayne Goodwin
Commissioner of Labor - Mary Fant Donnan
Secretary of State - Elaine Marshall
Superintendent of Public Instruction - June St. Clair Atkinson
Treasurer - Janet Cowell
N.C. Senate, District 18 - Bob Atwater
N.C. Senate, District 20 - Floyd McKissick, Jr.
N.C. House, District 29 - Larry Hall
N.C. House, District 30 - Paul Luebke
N.C. House, District 31 - H. M. (Mickey) Michaux
District Attorney, District 14 - Tracey Cline
County Commissioners - Becky Heron, Brenda Howerton, Michael Page, Ellen Reckhow
Register of Deeds - Willie Covington
Supreme Court - Suzanne Reynolds
Court of Appeals – John C. Martin
Court of Appeals – James A. (Jim) Wynn
Court of Appeals – Kristin Ruth
Court of Appeals – Cheri Beasley
Court of Appeals – Linda Stephens
Court of Appeals – John Arrowood
District Judge - William A. (Drew) Marsh
Soil and Water District Supervisor - Kathryn Spann
Prepared Meals Tax Referendum - FOR