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Archive for April 28th, 2009

Tea Partiers Stop Tax Hike Talk. For Now.

That was neat. One victory with more to come.

Anti-tax protesters bum-rushed the government center today to make clear that the Mecklenburg County Commission should not ask the state for authority to double the existing transit tax to a full penny.

The message got through — even to Democrats, Vilma Leake, George Dunlap, and Dumont Clarke. But the matter will still come up again next week for a formal vote.

And be bum-rushed again.

Bonus Observation: Let’s see if the Uptown paper credits the Tea Party movement with stopping the head-long rush to a $70m. a year tax hike — or even mentions them. I’m guessing… no.

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Attention: A Vote for an Option is a Vote for a Tax

None of this if-or-but crap.

There is only one reason to vote to ask the General Assembly to give Mecklenburg the option of doubling its transit tax — you think the transit tax needs doubling. The Charlotte city council is already on record — despite the attempt to “delay” taking a stance. Voters know who wants to raise their taxes. Now it is the county commission’s turn.

I think they too will want to “delay” but the problem is they head to Raleigh to meet with the state delegation this week. Decisions, decisions.

Yes or no. One side, no new taxes — the other side “tools,” “options,” and “opportunities.”

Bonus Observation: I repeat my $100 bet: I say that if MeckCo gets the authority to put an additional half-cent for transit on the ballot, it absolutely, positively will go on the ballot at some future date. Thus far, no one willing to dispute that.

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WSJ: BofA Needs More Capital

Because the federal “stress test” says so. Look, I have no idea what to believe. But if Citi needs to raise capital, then I’d guesstimate that BAC needs about half that number, whatever it might be.

Meanwhile, BofA execs will basically beg for extra credit from the feds here in the coming days. The share prices is off about 5% so far today.

Update: Bloomberg puts the capital number at $60b. to $70b., drawing from one analyst’s stress test with a more realistic 12 percent jobless rates.

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Epitaph: “We have more readership than we’ve ever had”

Amid news that print-copy circulation of her paper fell another 11 percent — much faster than the national decline — to just under 188K per weekday, Uptown paper of record publisher Ann Caulkins confirmed that she is powerless to address modern market realities.

“We’re gaining readership,” said Observer publisher Ann Caulkins. “We know people who don’t read us in print are reading us online. We have more readership than we’ve ever had in the history of the Charlotte Observer.”

Caulkins said that part of the circulation decrease was because unprofitable delivery routes were dropped in outlying areas and newsstand prices were raised in some distant circulation zones.

So what’s the 21st century plan to get revenue from all those online eyeballs? Well, in the 19th century you would throw ads at them and/or sell them subscriptions. And that is Ann’s plan as well.

Nothing remotely forward-looking, nothing to decouple content from “pages” and “ads” — just throw a pay wall up and hope the advertisers want to pay twice to get in — and don’t mind having no idea if they connect with eye-balls actually interested in their product.

I really cannot believe Ann Caulkins still has a job. Imagine there are plenty of folks down at Tryon Street who read that quote and thought the same thing.

Confusion, will be their epitaph.

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