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N.C. appeals court rebuffs challenge to Google tax breaks

Posted February 16, 2010

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— The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled against three people who challenged the legality of incentives used to lure search engine giant Google Inc. to North Carolina.

Former Libertarian candidates Michael Munger and Barbara Howe, as well as Mark Whitely Cares, sued the state and Google three years ago, saying the tax breaks state lawmakers approved for the the company in 2006 violated the state constitution.

Lawmakers agreed to exempt large Internet data centers from sales and use taxes in return for Google's agreement to build a server farm in Lenoir. Combined state and local tax breaks for the project could be more than $200 million.

The three taxpayers said the tax breaks were unfair because individuals and most businesses couldn't qualify for them.

In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel ruled that the three taxpayers didn't have the legal standing to challenge the tax breaks.

"The mere fact that (the) plaintiffs pay North Carolina income and sales and use taxes, without more, does not give them standing to
challenge the sales and use tax exemption afforded to eligible Internet data centers," the court ruled.

Apple Inc. also received incentives to build its own data center in western North Carolina.

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  • clintoflannagan Feb 16, 2010

    How about this: read the opinion. It carefully and methodically describes the manner in which this panel of three judges came to the decision to affirm the decision of the trial judge. In doing so it carefully analyzes why these three individuals do not have standing.

  • sec Feb 16, 2010

    Did I read that correctly? Did the court actually rule that taxpayers do not have the right to redress grievances with the government through the court system? Perhaps the judge should, at some point, bother to READ THE CONSTITUTION!!!!

  • jurydoc Feb 16, 2010

    cwood3 -- State judges are elected in NC. Just sayin.

  • Nothing New Feb 16, 2010

    If the taxpayers are not allowed to sue then who is. Do these guys understand that they are our employees, as taxpayers they work for US or suppose to, So goes the state just like California and the feds down the tubes. We the people have been stripped of any rights and have given them all to the government.

  • cwood3 Feb 16, 2010

    Hay guys-who appoints most judges??? Politicians and Lawyers!! Nuff said?? Oh-and what are most judges?? Lawyers!!

    Corruption continues!!! Welcome to North Carolina!! New Jersey Jr!!!

  • pbjbeach Feb 16, 2010

    An the people of this state wonder why the state is broke an can't afford to pay taxpayers their rightfuly due state tax return to the citizens of this state on time these incentives package deals need to be stoped especially when you consider the quality an the pay for the supposely jobs that are or were to be created for these incentive give aways of taxpayers funding thank you

  • oyid Feb 16, 2010

    Exactly, who does have the legal standings to challenge the exemptions? Judges are politicians too so it is not surprising to hear this. People should keep notes on this and become VERY vocal when these judges go to get pay raises. Their pay has to come from somewhere and the tax breaks basically should reduce those raises by a fraction.

  • rrzx-14 Feb 16, 2010

    So, who does have legal standing to challenge the tax exemption?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 16, 2010

    They seriously thought the state judges were going to rule against status Quo Bev.