A lot of counties in North Carolina have seen voters approve a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax over the years, but Guilford County voters have never bought into the idea.
That continued to hold true on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, when, once again, voters said, “Keep our sales tax rate exactly where it is – thank you very much.”
County commissioners and school board members worked hard to get voters to approve the tax hike this year. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners even made a very unusual promise to voters. If the sales tax hike passed, the board said it would reduce the county’s property tax rate – however, even that wasn’t enough enticement to get the majority of Guilford County voters on board.
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston was a vocal advocate of the sales tax increase. He argued that it would shift some of the county’s tax burden on to those who live outside the county since the sales tax is paid by those who come into the county to work or who just pass through on the way to somewhere else.
For months leading up to the election, Guilford County school board members also pushed for voters to approve the tax increase – arguing that it would help pay for the $1.7 billion school bond referendum, which, by the way, did pass with ease.
Republican Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch said before the vote Tuesday night that, even if the sales tax increase failed once again, the Democratic majority on the board was likely to continue putting it on the ballot in future elections until it does pass.
This year, sales tax hike advocates did come reasonably close to getting their way. About 45 percent of voters marked primary ballots for approval of the increase; however, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.