North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood can’t seem to stay out of the news. In early February, Under the Dome reported Wood was late in paying a $1,200 property tax bill on her Raleigh residence. Wood said she was late because she had to repay a $90,000 loan she took out to help finance her 2008 campaign for State Auditor.
Wake County Property Tax online records indicate Wood paid her delinquent taxes in full on February 26, 2010. She later told Under the Dome, “I work from a budget. It is a choice I made to pay the property taxes late and pay the interest charge that goes with it.”
Come again? In February, didn’t Wood say the burden of her $90,000 campaign debt precipitated the late payment? Now a month later the State Auditor said, she’s on a budget and the late payment was merely a “choice” she made.
Seems like over the past decade Beth Wood has been making that “choice” quite frequently. Wake County Property Tax records indicate Wood was late in paying not only her 2009 property taxes but also her 2008 property taxes. A review of the records seems to indicate Wood frequently “chooses” not to pay her property taxes on time. She was late in 2000 on her Lexus, and in 1998 she was late paying taxes on the same car. As far back as 1995 she was “choosing” to pay her property taxes late.
Now it should be noted that in every case Auditor Wood has paid all of the taxes and whatever penalties and interest was assessed. What is interesting in the context of the story was her initial story that her borrowing money to finance her campaign was what necessitated her paying the taxes late. That does not seem to square with her record of past late payments.
In her present position as State Auditor we have to hope Wood ensures taxpayers that her approach to watching out for how tax dollars are spent is a little less cavalier than her approach to paying taxes.