Local News

Millions of Dollars Don't Make it to Schools

Posted February 28, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— North Carolina is one of the only states in the nation to make public schools pay sales tax. After WRAL-TV5 aired a story on schools paying taxes Thursday, the studios were swamped with calls from people who were surprised at that news. Even Governor Jim Hunt said he didn't know it was happening. Friday, he told his staff to start examining the situation.

While that is surprising, some were even more surprised to find out which state agencies donothave to pay state sales tax. Rep. Fern Shubert (R, Union) has introduced a bill to change the schools' status. Her bill lists 21 other government agencies that don't have to pay such taxes.

Cities and counties, district health departments and planning commissions also do not have to pay the tax. Bob Berlam of the North Carolina School Board Association says he doesn't know why schools weren't made exempt with other organizations were.

Berlam says his association has been fighting the system for over 10 years on the issue, trying to keep the millions of dollars spent in sales tax in schools.

The list of government agencies that are exempt from state sales tax does not include thousands of non-profit groups.

Shubert's bill has moved out of the education committee Thursday and is now in the hands of the state finance committee.