ELIZABETHTOWN — For some urban counties in North Carolina, a path was offered by the state’s Senate to levy an additional sales tax, so long as they do it by November.
Late Thursday, the N.C. Senate approved a tax bill that would allow Mecklenberg, Forsyth, Guilford and Wake counties to raise their sales tax rate to 2.75 percent, provided the county taxpayers approve the measure in 2014, according to WNCN.
Originally, a bill that was adopted by the General Assembly earlier in July which would have capped the sales tax rate for all of North Carolina’s counties at 2.5 percent, according to the Pilot News.
“It hasn’t gone to the (North Carolina) House yet,” said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin of the sales tax changes.
Bladen County residents will have another opportunity to decide on a quarter-cent sales tax here in November. The same measure was defeated when it appeared on the May primary ballot. Currently, Bladen County’s sales tax rate is 2 percent, said Martin. If the referendum is approved by county voters in November, the county’s sales tax rate would rise to 2.25 percent, making the combined state and local sales tax rate increase from the current 6.75 percent to 7 percent, based on data from the N.C. Department of Revenue.
“What it (the bill) would do is give the authority for Bladen County and counties like Bladen to increase their sales tax an additional .25 percent,” said Martin.
Martin added that, thus far, Mecklenberg and Guilford counties already had measures on their November ballots to increase their county’s sales tax to 2.75 percent. If those four designated counties do not approve such a measure in 2014, Martin said, they will be capped at the 2.5 percent rate.
Martin said the funds can be used for a combination of things such as transportation and public education. The proposed sales tax referendum in Bladen County is earmarked for the school system to be utilized for capital projects such as building repairs and maintenance.
Martin stressed that this bill has only passed the N.C. Senate and still must be voted on by the N.C. House.
The House was scheduled to take up the matter on Friday (Aug. 1) according to the General Assembly’s website.