And Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton admits it:
Walton’s worry is that Charlotte would become similar to an older Rust Belt city, with a small sliver of the population paying the bills. That is a symptom of a growing gap between rich and poor, he believes, and will make it difficult for the city to continue a high quality of life.
“If we don’t invest now, will we see a markedly declining Charlotte in five years? In my opinion, probably not,” Walton said. “However, if we don’t invest soon, and in innovative ways, will we see decline in 10 years? Again in my opinion, yes.”
The problem here? First and foremost, Charlotte residents already face the highest cost of local government among the state’s municipalities with populations of 25,000 and above (measured as combined city and county tax and fee collections per capita, water and sewer charges excluded). This willingness of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to tax to build stuff so that they will come has obviously not succeeded. Walton’s solution? Double down, tax more, so we can build more stuff so hopefully they will come now.
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then Walton’s proposal certainly qualifies.
The alternative? As JLF President John Hood said in the same article:
History suggests that you can’t overcome a fundamental cost disadvantage. It’s a very common phenomenon of people moving out. The solution is to work on the cost side. How can you make it less expensive?