Local Politics

Schools, Transit Might Compete for Sales Tax Funds

Posted March 19, 2008

— To fund school construction and renovation projects, some Wake County Public School System leaders are suggesting a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

A transit committee has already said it wants to increase the sales tax to help pay for a transportation plan to alleviate crowded roads and interstates. If education and transit compete, one might not get funded. Or, some are advocating a higher tax for both of those priorities and more.

New schools are being opened on year-round calendars to try to accommodate growth by fitting more students into each building.

“There is a trade-off – mandatory year-round or higher taxes,” said Wake County School Board Chairwoman Rosa Gill.

If the answer turns out to be higher taxes, they could could come in the form of a sales tax. Voters could decide on a quarter-cent hike as soon as November.

“You’ve got two competing, very important issues,” said Wake County Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan. “It would be nice to have, like, a penny for progress, where you did education, transportation and open space, and you had enough to get these things done.”

That idea has gained traction with some local leaders.

“Both education and transportation are priorities for our region, and I think they deserve equal billing,” said Raleigh City Council Member Mary-Ann Baldwin.

A penny sales tax increase is in the idea stages. It would take approval from the state Legislature to get it on the ballot.

“If we do go to the Legislature, I’m sure it wouldn’t be until the long session (2009),” Baldwin said. “Normally, in the short session, they deal with less-controversial issues. I think we need to be thinking that far ahead and start planning for that.”

WRAL called several legislators to ask about the idea. One said it was premature to talk about the possible tax hike without hearing a specific plan.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • babyluv Mar 20, 2008

    These comments are far from being mean...education is very important...its something no one can take away from you and it can take you to some very high places(employment, travel, etc)however, w/all this taxing....how in the world am I suppose to feed my child youre educating taxing every darn thing. It seems every body has their hand out for something!!!but no one is giving up any $'s to pay these proposed increase in taxes

  • chfdcpt Mar 20, 2008

    PaulRevere, I like your idea. After all, we are only using the school buses for a few hours every day. Let's use them for mass transit. After all, the buses are already paid for, the drivers are already licensed and hired, so it should not be any problem. Of course, we would have to have magnetic signs made for the buses. I don't think CAT would appreciate competition from the yellow buses.

    On the other hand, they could use the "transit school bus" money for the school system and try to save us another tax hike.

  • AC Man Mar 20, 2008


  • mep Mar 20, 2008

    Typical... someone suggests collecting more tax dollars and every agency in the county tries to jump on-board.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 20, 2008

    I would vote in favor of a sales tax with three very important caveats. Property taxes must be eliminated first. Then the State Constitution is changed to not allow Property Taxes to ever be levied again. Next the state must remove the taxation of Food. Do all that and I will agree that you can have a penny additional sales tax.

  • ThinkChick Mar 20, 2008

    Let's just change the name of our state to North Taxolina.

    No taxation without representation is at play here. These people do not represent the majority of us. Anyone want to do locally what California did to Gray Davis? Petition to get everyone removed from office?

    First step - bounce the tax lovers out of office this next election cycle. This means don't vote straight party lines on either side. Listen to each candidate and vote for those who do not believe in either taxing every aspect of live or controlling every aspect of life.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 19, 2008

    I figured out a solution today for all of this. Eliminate all taxes from Federal on down. Then you give 55 percent of your money to the Feds; 35 to the state and the remaining 10 to the county.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 19, 2008


    You solve the raising tax issue by getting rid of the Commissioners that voted it in. They love doing this other stuff because it is a way of getting you to think you are not paying more.

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Mar 19, 2008

    Here's my 1/4 Cent Vote: NO

    All schools should be PRIVATE.
    The Government should STOP raiding the Gas Tax Trust(?) fund.

    Problems solved.

  • taurismo Mar 19, 2008

    NJDevilsfan--it doesn't matter if you vote no on the bonds. The elected officials get their money by raising property taxes then. I don't think THAT'S fair, either. Why is it that the people who work hard to have a house, expensive or not, have to pay and pay, while there are more and more people living in apartments that use the same amenities/facilities as the homeowners? At least EVERYONE pays the sales tax!!