By the Numbers is an annual report produced by the Center for Local Innovation, a special project of the John Locke Foundation. This organization is typically viewed as representing a fiscally conservative point-of-view and numbers are highly scrutinized before publication.
In this report, the City of Burlington and Alamance County are compared to other cities and counties in North Carolina based on criteria that define a total “tax burden” for each community.
BTN examines property taxes, sales taxes, and total local government collections of all taxes and fees for counties and municipalities for FY 2005, the latest year for which data is available. For each of the three categories, a revenue per-capita figure was computed.
For municipalities with populations greater than 25,000 (out of 29 ranked municipalities), Burlington was placed in the “Lower [Tax] Burden” quartile by the Center. Burlington’s per capita property tax burden of $762.93 was $358.14 less than that of Huntersville and $212.08 less than Hickory (both with populations approximately 10,000 less than Burlington).
When comparing Burlington’s services to that of similar municipalities, it is evident that Burlington is able to provide comparable levels of service at a lower cost to the taxpayer. The study cites Burlington’s local revenue per capita at $1,326.50 or 25 out of the 29 municipalities ranked. This compares to Hickory at $1,771.98, Huntersville at $1,749.39, and Wilson at $1,411.82.
Burlington moved from 24 in 2004 to 25 in 2005 further decreasing the tax burden on residents. Maximizing the impact per tax dollar remains a top priority for Burlington’s administration, which is evident by these findings.
The report is available in its entirety online at the John Locke Foundation website, www.johnlocke.org, under the “Policy Reports” menu.