Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SALES TAX (A WCHL Commentary)

Very soon, we will begin early voting and Election Day is November 2. Along with the normal ballot items there will be an opportunity to vote for a small increase in the County sales and use tax. Note that I said COUNTY. Yes, it will add a quarter of a cent to our current 7 and three quarters sales and use tax.

There may be some confusion out there; it doesn’t add a quarter to the current tax, it adds a quarter of one cent. Thus, we are talking about 1 penny on a $4 purchase or 25 cents on a $100 purchase. It will not apply to food or medicine and anyone who buys things in Orange County will pay. This is one of the reasons I support this small increase: it captures taxes from visitors and retains the dollars for Orange County priorities. Another benefit is that the dollars from the tax are already targeted.

Of the expected $2.3 million dollars raised, 42.5% ($975,000) will be spent annually on economic development and local job creation; another 42.5% ($975,000) will be spent annually to support Chapel Hill-Carrboro & Orange Co. Schools; and the remaining 15% ($345,000) will be spent annually on improving emergency services and libraries. All of this will cost the average consumer $20 per year. Doing this reduces the need for future property tax increases and it prohibits future Property Transfer Tax increase referendum.

Yes, I fully support this very small increase because of the very big things it will do to help our schools, the business environment, and services like EMS and libraries. Please vote in this election and please vote FOR this to support Orange County’s future


JCB said...

Fred, I think your point about "visitors" paying this tax was a huge miss in getting more support. "Visitors" in this case includes employees at UNC and elsewhere who live outside the county and students too (who, if they live in dorms, don't pay our high property taxes). Plus "food" is really defined only as unprepared stuff, so restaurant meals would have been affected. Therefore, a significant portion of this tax would have come from people who don't contribute much today to the great things OC offers.

Fred said...

The increase in the sales tax, in contrast to raising property taxes, is a better option for the reasons you mention. Visitors, others than the ones you mention , are a sizable number.