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Wake County Leaders Propose Increased Sales Tax

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County leaders want the option of a new half-cent sales tax that could bring in an additional estimated $30 million a year to help fund school construction.

The county's 7 percent sales tax is already one of the highest in the nation.

County commissioners want the state Senate to give them authority to levy a half-cent sales tax increase; a similar measure already passed the House.

"That gives us additional funding sources so we don't have to raise property taxes as much as we would if we didn't have any other funding sources available to us," said Wake County Commission Chairman Tony Gurley.

State Sen. Richard Stevens does not believe the sales tax increase has a chance of passing in the Senate.

Stevens, Wake County's former county manager, said he can understand the challenges that come with growth, but believes the county should look at raising the county's relatively low property tax, instead of increasing the sales tax.

"It's an additional tax at a time when taxes are already high and the county commissioners have alternative means at their disposal without legislative approval already," Stevens said.

Even if the General Assembly gives the county permission, voters will make the final decision on the increased sales tax.

Pressure for the permission is growing from across the state. Nearly 50 of North Carolina's 100 counties, including Wake, are all interested in an additional half-cent sales tax for the sole purpose of school construction.


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