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Incomplete disclosure
Published: Sep 22, 2004
Modified: Sep 22, 2004 8:12 AM

While your Sept. 20 article on proposed constitutional Amendment One on the Nov. 2 ballot accurately reflected the pros and cons of the issue, you neglected to include some procedural concerns.

First, the actual language of the amendment will not appear on the ballot for voter approval. Instead there is a "summary" of favorable language, crafted by the legislature to encourage a "yes" vote.

Second, neither the actual amendment nor the question on the ballot clearly states that a "yes" vote will result in the removal of a community's constitutional right to vote to approve these bonds.

Amending our state constitution is serious business and the least our citizens should expect is an accurate and complete statement of what is at issue.

Robert Orr
Executive Director,
N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law

Editor's note: The writer recently retired as a justice on the state Supreme Court.

The text of the question (one of three on the Nov. 2 ballot) is as follows: I. Constitutional amendment to promote local economic and community development projects by (i) permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws giving counties, cities, and towns the power to finance public improvements associated with qualified private economic and community improvements within development districts, as long as the financing is secured by the additional tax revenues resulting from the enhanced property value within the development district and is not secured by a pledge of the local government's faith and credit or general taxing authority, which financing is not subject to a referendum; and (ii) permitting the owners of property in the development district to agree to a minimum tax value for their property, which is binding on future owners as long as the development district is in existence.