Local Politics

Counties turning to local sales taxes to raise money

Posted July 26, 2010

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— A growing number of counties facing tight budgets are seeking voter approval to raise local sales taxes.

Ten counties have already decided to put local-option sales taxes on the November ballot, including Orange, Harnett and Robeson. Durham County commissioners were expected to vote Monday night on whether to add their county to the list.

Durham County officials said the county could raise nearly $8 million a year with a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax.

"I think the counties have gone through this budget theme for a couple of years now, and the citizens are starting to see the impacts hitting them personally," said Todd McGee, spokesman for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. "They're seeing their libraries being closed earlier. They're seeing parks being closed. They're seeing other services being cut, and the citizens are starting to feel it."

In 2007, state lawmakers gave cash-strapped counties the option of asking voters if they would agree to a land-transfer tax or a higher sales tax to help deal with growth issues like building new schools and roads and extending water and sewer lines.

The land-transfer tax has been defeated every time it's been put on the ballot, and the quarter-cent sales tax idea has failed 44 times, including twice in Harnett County and once each in Cumberland and Robeson counties.

Still, voters have approved a local-option sales tax 16 times, including eight of 10 referenda since last November. Cumberland County voters even changed their minds and approved a sales tax increase in a second vote. Lee and Duplin counties also have approved the added sales tax.

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  • chevybelair57sd Jul 30, 2010

    when are you folks going to see the forest for the trees. 99% of us TAX payers have scaled back in this economy but the government, state and federal have INCREASED their budgets using the 1% that demand help and pay very very little taxes!!Governments want capitalistic taxes with out the capital coming in

  • whatusay Jul 27, 2010

    Plenty Coups...as usual, you are in the minority.

  • whatusay Jul 27, 2010

    freespeech says...Same ol' game. People want all the services" I disagree 100%. Who says people want all the services??? Do you say that??? If so you are mistaken. People do not only not want all the services, they don't need all the services. Stop pushing taxes....

  • whatusay Jul 27, 2010

    I really don't believe people want all the services....I believe government just wants the money. Bigger is not always better. More government, more taxes, more parks, more firemen, more policemen, is not always better....back up and look at what these politicians are saying..."WE WANT YOUR MONEY TO SPEND AS WE SEE FIT". They need to fire a few hundred government employees...cheaper to pay unemployment than continue to pay them and HIRE A DOZEN MORE. Stop the madness...reduce the size of government.

  • Plenty Coups Jul 27, 2010

    dlb800-"The problem I see is that poor people typically do things to make themselves poor."

    Yes, I agree. It still doesn't make a national sales tax in lieu of an income tax a good idea no matter if basketball ninja ever understands the concept of regressive tax.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 27, 2010

    "Same ol' game. People want all the services of having a taxbase...schools, roads, parks, sidewalks, fire, police, etc....AND, they dont want any waste at all. Revenues are down so counties are having to do things to accomodate living in a democracy. Jez, support the communities you live in and quit whinning...either that, or stay off the roads and out of the schools."

    What you fail to understand is that it does not matter how much money they get. They will still say it is not enough and that they need more. In the meantime, exactly how many Government employees have been laid off? Very little has been done to cut spending. Pretty much next to nothing. Your biggest expense is employees. Time for the weed whacker to come out. They should have cut 15 to 20 percent of Government workers by now.

  • freespeech Jul 27, 2010

    Same ol' game. People want all the services of having a taxbase...schools, roads, parks, sidewalks, fire, police, etc....AND, they dont want any waste at all. Revenues are down so counties are having to do things to accomodate living in a democracy. Jez, support the communities you live in and quit whinning...either that, or stay off the roads and out of the schools.

  • mep Jul 27, 2010

    WolfPackAlum... that is why the entire tax system should be re-written to eliminate the countless loopholes that only seem to change each year. If each and every citizen falls under the same rules of taxation only when the money is spent, income becomes null. WHY penalize people more and more for being successful? And the system to collect sales tax is already in place. Just add some incredibly harsh fines and jail time for those that attempt to circumvent it. Let the IRS service business taxation... individuals would only pay sales tax. Just think what you could buy if you had say 18% more money in your paycheck! People do LOVE to spend.... our economy sure would benefit.

  • 6079 SMITH W Jul 27, 2010

    Great...another tax increase. If only our keepers would, with a stroke of the pen, increase wages and lower prices....so we can afford to give these leeches even more of our money.

  • veyor Jul 27, 2010

    ....rather than cutting costs.

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