Unlike some counties in the state, Guilford County residents have never voted to give themselves a sales tax increase; however, county and school system leaders are hoping that 2020 is the year that that finally happens, and, to that end, the forces behind the initiative have set up a new website that details the reasons many are hoping for the increase.
State law doesn’t allow proponents of the quarter-cent sales tax increase to put language on the ballot that states the proceeds will be used for school purposes; however, in spite of that limitation, area leaders are doing everything they can to convince the public that that’s exactly how they intend the proceeds to be used. Current elected officials can’t determine the actions of future elected officials, but the current leaders want to let voters know that they intend for the money to be used to fund the schools and pay off school bond debt.
The new website, www.schoolbondfacts.com, gives a great deal of information as to how the money will be used, how much will be raised, which items will be exempt from the tax, and it answers other questions as well that people may have about the school bonds or the tax hike.
Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller has been orchestrating the “educational campaign” pertaining to the sales tax referendum and the school bonds and she provided the Board of Commissioners with an overview of the site at the board’s Thursday, Oct. 1 meeting.
“This is a web platform for our citizens to be able to go to and access those FAQ’s [Frequently Asked Questions] and information on those two items on the ballot – the quarter-cent sales tax and the $300-million sales tax referendum,” Keller said. “We will be adding the press conference information, press releases and more information as the campaign continues forward – so this will be a good resource for the community to go to.”
Guilford County residents currently pay combined state and local sales tax of 6.75 percent on many items purchased. If voters approve the proposal on the ballot, that rate would move to 7 percent.
The website estimates that the quarter-cent sales tax hike could add $19 million a year to use for school purposes.