Plan to raise sales taxes to help teachers - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Plan to raise sales taxes to help teachers

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It appears there is enough support on the Board of Mecklenburg County Commissioners to place a referendum on November's ballot to raise the sales tax throughout the county.

If approved, voters would decide on a quarter of penny sales hike. That equals a penny for every $4 spent to go toward teacher pay.

County Commission Chair Trevor Fuller believes something needs to be done to address teacher pay. North Carolina is currently 46th in the nation when it comes to teacher pay. This plan would consistently offer Charlotte -Mecklenburg school (CMS) district help to with teacher salary.

"We think at a time when our teachers," Chairman Trevor Fuller said, "Our best teachers are leaving because our compensation is ridiculously low, shamefully low. We can't allow our teachers to leave our system."

Fuller hopes he can get his colleagues to agree to place referendum on November's ballot. "If not," he said, "We have to move forward, but we think there is a majority."

This plan could generate about $35 million. It would be split between CMS, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), the libraries and the arts. Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour is not convinced.

"In the event of the downturn of the economy," Ridenhour said. "Or a slowdown. We may not collect as much in sales tax revenue as we project. What do we do then."

Fuller's responded to his colleagues's concern.

"This should not obscure us from the notion that this is the plan for the future." Fuller said.

Ridenhour doesn't want to talk about raising taxes, he would rather discuss lowering taxes.

"There is a way to fully fund the manager's proposed budget," Ridenhour said. "And lower taxes by one penny. It's not huge, but it's a step in the right direction."

Commissioners will talk about this proposed referendum at its meeting on June 17 and could vote on whether to place the referendum on the ballot sometime this summer.

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