Local Politics

Local sales tax for schools again on Harnett ballot

Posted November 4, 2013

— In order to keep up with growing school enrollment, Harnett County leaders are trying for a fifth time to obtain a quarter-cent sales tax increase for school construction.

The western part of the county, near Fort Bragg, is in the middle of a population boom as the Army brings in thousands of families. A new middle school is under construction, but Harnett County Schools officials say the area also needs a new elementary school.

Voters have defeated similar sales tax proposals four times since 2007, but supporters say that's because of the way the referendum is worded on the ballot.

The ballot reads simply, "Local sales and use tax at the rate of one-quarter percent (0.25%) in addition to all other State and local sales and use taxes."

"If it doesn't say anything about 'for schools,' all that people will see is it's a tax. They're not going to vote to increase taxes," parent Alisa Yochim said. "But this is for our schools. This is to build schools throughout our county. Right now, the need is in the western part of the county."

County Commissioner Joe Miller said officials have tried to educate voters in recent months about the purpose for the proposed tax increase.

"Fliers have gone out with the kids. There are signs up," Miller said. “Property owners are tired of footing the whole bill. At least this way, with the quarter-cent sales tax, everybody pays.”


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  • lazydawg58 Nov 5, 2013

    There is an immediate need for five schools to be built and for additions and renovations on a number of other schools. Several schools are between 120 and 150% of capacity. The problems are not limited to the western portion of the county but in fact include every area except the Coats/Erwin/Dunn district. The sales tax increase will not come close to solving the problem, but it is a start. There will have to be property tax increases regardless of the outcome of this vote. However, if it passes that property tax increase will be lessened. Either that or the citizens of Harnett County can continue to bury their heads in the sand chanting "no new taxes" and see their children and grandchildren going to school in extremely overcrowded conditions.

  • THEdrlefty Nov 5, 2013

    My reference to 'republicans hurting our schools' referred to the GnoP dominated Harnett County Commissioners. The naysayers have been in control of that board as long as I have lived here.

  • BBQCreek Nov 5, 2013

    Upon one of the previous tax increase defeats I thought one of the commissioners indicated it would have only added about $260,000 a year in revenue, rather than the $1.2 million the commissioners are touting now. One of the commissioners just stated approval of the tax increase in Harnett County will not preclude a property tax hike. See http://harnettnews.org/?p=772

  • lopo Nov 5, 2013

    More republicans hurting our schools by failing to do their jobs. Vote NO on this silly tax.

    Democrats have been in charge since 1901 and we have one of the worst schools systems in the country, 49th to be exact. And now its the fault of repulicans. Ol' Bev never gave teachers a raise but ite the republicans. Simple liberal logic.

  • lazydawg58 Nov 5, 2013

    Correction, the immediate need is $200 million for school constructon in Harnett County.

  • Hill55 Nov 5, 2013

    @wral reporters: can you do a story to see how and where these additional sales tax surcharges have been spent in Durham and & Orange counties since they were voted upon. The promise was schools and economic development. Did that really happen?

  • For the U.S.A. Nov 4, 2013

    Dr. Lefty, it is the democrats fault! The allowed and supported the illegal and lazy people to live off the taxpayers in this country! If we did not have to support them, we would be in great shape!

  • THEdrlefty Nov 4, 2013

    The IMMEDIATE need for school construction in Harnett is $20 million. This tax will bring in $1 million/year. When will our commissioners realize that this is a drop in the bucket and they need to address the need NOW. More republicans hurting our schools by failing to do their jobs. Vote NO on this silly tax.