Local sales tax for schools again on Harnett ballot
Posted November 4, 2013
Lillington, N.C. — 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.”