Local News

State Senate Leaves School Tax in Detention

Posted June 8, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— A bill repealing the sales tax that North Carolina schools pay on purchased supplies passed the House, but has stalled in a Senate committee.

If the Senate fails to act on the bill during the current short session, it will die in committee. Lawmakers would then have to start from scratch and resubmit the school tax repeal next year.

Critics said that the Senate has failed an important assignment; repealing a 6 percent sales tax schools must pay on all supplies. Getting rid of the school sales tax would mean an extra $31 million for schools. Rep. Fern Shubert got the repeal through the House last year.

"I can't understand why anybody would want to keep taxing public schools," Shubert said. "Why are we picking on public schools? It makes no sense."

The school tax repeal has been referred to the Senate finance committee, which is chaired by Sen. John Kerr. He said that the Senate wants to get rid of the tax, but someone must find a way to make up for the lost revenue.

"It's a perceived inequity, but when you analyze it, the state has got just so much money to appropriate to all the needs," Kerr said.

The North Carolina School Boards Association will not criticize the Senate's inaction, but it is clear where it stands.

"We would like for it to pass. We strongly hope that it will pass," Leanne Winner said, who is a member of the N.C. School Board Association. "We will be working on it every day from now until the session ends."

The bill faces several obstacles such as unexpected expenses like the state losing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by retirees.