New NC Laws

Isn’t this Special ?

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A suburban town just outside of New York City is offering an “opportunity” for its senior citizens to work off their property taxes.

Wow, a novel way to counteract spiralling need to reach into a homeowner’s wallet. Since we taxed your property that a lot of people want, and you can’t afford the taxes now, we can let you work for us!

We wonder – does that mean the county government payroll goes up, or are the newly minted serfs considered “contract workers”? If the community has a public bidding process, does that mean the senior citizens in the community have to publically bid for the job “opportunity”? Do the wages earned get taxed?

“There are lots of things people can do for the town and it wouldn’t cost us that much to pay them”, said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

laughing.jpg    No Doubt…

Minnesota “allows” its senior citizens to defer their property taxes, but not forgives them of the obligation — “This is not a tax forgiveness program – it is a low interest loan from the state. The deferred tax is paid by the state to your county. Interest will be charged on this loan. The interest rate will be adjusted annually, but will never exceed five percent. A lien will attach to your property.” — from the state web page.

OK, so now we owe interest on top of the tax, and our children pay the estate off when we pass away. Sounds like a windfall for the county — even better than the accomodations tax used to fund our community festivals and chambers of commerce.

“They’re heart-committed volunteers,” said Council on Aging Director Patricia McCarthy, to a Whitman, MA, town council. Town Administrator Frank Lynam said there could be work for seniors who want to take on light custodial work at the Town Hall.

Shur’nuf, 111 hours of peasant labor…

Gaston County offers a Homestead Exclusion, but no overtly special way to pay off the tax liability.

The qualifications for this exclusion also require the owner to make a timely application. The deadline for the application is June 1.  The major qualifications for a Gaston County resident include a minimum age or disability as of January 1 — 65 years or older or totally and permanently disabled.   In addition, the owner’s adjusted gross income (individual or husband and wife) can not exceed $19,200 for the calendar year preceding the year in which the exclusion is claimed.  Those who qualify for the exclusion can receive the greater of $20,000 or 50% of the value of their residence reduced from their tax bill.

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Since the Gazette didn’t pick up the story yet, maybe our illustrious county commissioners won’t get big ideas just yet. Oops — too late — it appears that there at least a couple county commissioners that read this blog.

40-plus N.C. laws take effect

One new law bans devices known as “alcohol inhalers,” which convert liquor into a mist that can be inhaled by the user. Lawmakers were concerned that the devices, which were assembled and distributed by a Greensboro company, were being marketed to underage drinkers. Another law establishes rules for alcohol-detecting technology, which is used in ankle bracelets worn by some defendants convicted of drunken driving. Also, people can lose their driver’s licenses for providing alcohol to anyone younger than 21. The penalty is important because many underage drinkers get alcohol from friends or family members, said Craig Lloyd, the executive director of the N.C. chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Animals

Penalties have increased for anyone who kills an animal through intentional starvation, and for anyone who kills a police animal or an assistance animal such as a seeing-eye dog.

Animal rights activists supported those two laws, although an official with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said she objects to the idea that certain animals, such as police dogs, should be elevated above ordinary companion animals.

A third law dealing with animals legalizes a practice known as “earth-dog trials.” The practice involves placing a caged rat at the end of an underground tunnel. A dog such as a dachshund or terrier is encouraged to follow the scent of the rat through the tunnel and then bark, scratch or paw at the rat’s cage. The “trial” is said to be a simulated hunting situation and is sometimes used for entertainment.

Miscellaneous

Desecrating a gravestone or other cemetery monument is now considered a low-level felony, and the punishment has increased for people who carry a weapon while violating a domestic violence order.

There are also tougher penalties for people who steal high-priced metals, such as copper and aluminum, or who engage in the organized theft of retail merchandise with the intent to resell it.

It will be harder to get out of a speeding ticket if the speed is more than 25 mph over the speed limit. People caught speeding at that level can no longer get a “prayer for judgment continued” from a judge or plead guilty to the lesser offense of having a broken speedometer.

NC Policy Watch has a few more summaries and we have attached the entire PDF of enacted laws (all 419 pages) through November.

summaries-of-substantive-ratified-legislation-for-2007.pdf