Local Politics

Opinions Differ on Sales Tax Increase Proposal

Posted March 8, 2007
Updated March 9, 2007

— State Sen. Janet Cowell on Thursday proposed a voluntary one-cent sales tax increase for Wake and other counties to help pay for education.

Cowell, D-Wake, said the money generated from the extra penny levy on sales could raise about $20 million a year locally for school construction and other educational needs.

Her bill would allow a county to put the option of a local sales tax increase to a vote. It also would permit counties to charge a 1 percent fee on property transfers, which she said could raise another $100 million annually in Wake County.

"Right now, local government, that's really about all they've got—bonds and property taxes," Cowell said. "This would give them some other tools in the tool kit to distribute the need for resources so it's not always coming out of the property tax base."

Wake School Superintdent Del Burns on Tuesday proposed a budget of more than $1.1 billion for the 2007-2008 school year—an increase of nearly $75 million from last year. The budget calls for $305 million in support from the county, which is $29.4 million more than the current budget.

The school district is trying to keep pace with federal and state education requirements and a booming enrollment. Administrators expect 8,000 new students in area schools next fall.

Beyond the classroom, some members of the Wake County Commission are in favor of the one-cent sales tax option.

"It's not the seven county comissioners deciding independently," Commissioner Joe Bryan said. "It's the public saying for our quality of life, we recognize we need to make this investment."

Lawmakers agree that the school system needs cash to build more schools. They just don't agree on the funding method.

"We need to take the net proceeds from the state lottery and use those to fund a statewide schol bond," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake. "We can provide $4 billion to build schools in the state and not raise taxes."


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  • Josey Wales Mar 12, 2007

    Is it true that Wake County spends $35,000 per day on gasoline for school buses ?

  • Bob3425 Mar 12, 2007

    save money by making sure that all students are legal resident of the US, and cut administrative cost.

  • Watcher Of Things Mar 10, 2007

    State Sen. Janet Cowell is SUCKER PUNCHING us with this proposal!

    They got the lottery and nearly a Billion dollar bond and STILL wants more?

    ... the people have been bled enough.

    Take the Converntion Center money and put it to schools!

    Get out of our pockets!

  • cbhopper122859 Mar 10, 2007

    Why more taxes.we now have a lotto.is this not suppose to help.

  • regularguy_nc-at-yahoo.com Mar 9, 2007

    Since when does the quality of life for the average citizen make any difference? Oh yeah!... the "Education Lottery!" Taxes? I Know... there's a small percentage of rich people around... getting fat off of the work performed by the majority of residents in our little, up and coming, third-world-state who, I'm sure, would just love the oppportunity to pay an equal share of taxes to improve the quality of life for everyone... right?

    There are so many businesses around who use mostly "part time" employees at a below poverty wage and with no benefits that we could target them to pay a "Don't Give a Damn About the People Who Work For You Tax" based on how much they save with their form of cold blooded greed.

  • Lizard Paw Mar 9, 2007

    yeah, you're right. It will be quite awhile unitl all the Clinton appointees leave.

  • AmericaFirst Mar 9, 2007

    Federal judges in various states (US district courts)have ruled, when states have sought relief from education, medical, justice, and welfare burdens imposed by the inundation of illegals, that illegals are entitled to a free education and to social services and welfare. These judges are appointed by the Pres. of the US.

  • Lizard Paw Mar 9, 2007

    Build a fence on the border first!

    Who elected this Janet thing to government? Could they have elected anyone more socialist?

  • Slip Kid Mar 9, 2007

    PS - my 'you' and 'your' are editorial and not intended to be directed to any individual.

  • Slip Kid Mar 9, 2007

    trunkmonkee1971 - thanks for the NC Constitution reference. You'll notice the word 'opportunty' in there for access to public schooling. This does not mean we do not offer alternatives to traditional schools (private, charter, vouchers, etc.). Again, most agree that public schools are the foundation of our continued intelligent, free society. What I don't get is all the waste and entitlement issues that prevent us from having effective schools in ALL counties. Again, I lean towards eliminating the per kid tax breaks so those who choose to have kids bear a fair share of the burden. I don't care if you buy more stuff, that comes with with kid! Pay your taxes and I wouldn't have to take issue with constant tax raises.