Charlotte mayoral candidate Scott Stone is sending out a fundraising letter filled with inaccuracies.
Stone, a Republican who hopes to face Mayor Anthony Foxx in November, sent a letter to some Charlotte property owners whose home values went up in this year's revaluation. It plays on people's emotions and drags Foxx into a fight that has little to do with him. And it does so with multiple untruths. Let us count the mistakes in his one-page letter:
-- Stone says: "Your property has been reassessed above market value so that the county and Anthony Foxx can get more taxes out of you."
The truth: Your property has been reassessed because state law requires reassessments at least every eight years. Foxx does not get more taxes out of you, because the city on Monday passed a revenue-neutral budget.
-- Stone says: "In the worst recession in our city's history..."
The truth: Guess Stone forgot about that little bump in the road called the Great Depression.
-- Stone says: "Your value went up [amount]. That is a [number] percent increase!"
The truth: In the letter we saw, the percentage increase was wrong by about 20 points.
-- Stone says commissioners' chairman Jennifer Roberts refused to re-do the revaluation as he proposed. "She used the excuse that it was outside North Carolina law. So I went to Raleigh and got the Speaker of the House ... to agree to change the law. And yet, the revaluation will not change."
The truth: That silly Jennifer Roberts, using that flimsy excuse of it being against the law. What is she thinking? The revaluation will not change because it is still against the law, whatever the House speaker may have told Stone.
-- Stone says: "Next year, [your] household will pay around [amount] more in local property taxes."
The truth: In the letter we saw, Stone overstates the amount of the tax-bill increase.
-- Stone says: "What is Anthony Foxx doing? He encouraged the county to raise your taxes and has said nothing about the revaluation. Anthony Foxx is OK with you paying [amount] next year - because the city is getting its piece of your increase."
The truth: Foxx did not encourage the county to raise your taxes. What he said about revaluation was that the city should cut its tax rate to revenue neutral to cushion any blow that residents might feel from any county tax increase. The city is not getting a piece of your increase; it set its tax rate to bring in about the same amount of property tax revenue as it did last year.
-- Stone says: "Together, we will win this election!"
The truth: Well, you be the judge.
-- Posted by the Observer editorial board