Lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly filed several bills Monday that would give the counties they represent the authority to impose a one-half cent or 1 cent local sales tax.
In addition, some lawmakers have proposed a trade-off between local and state governments. If such a deal is struck, counties would be allowed to levy 1 cent local sales taxes. In turn, state reimbursements usually given to counties, which total $330 million, would be canceled. The reimbursements come from taxes on stocks and manufacturing inventories.
Rep. Donald Davis, R-Harnett, said he proposed a bill specific to Harnett County at the request of county commissioners that allows a possible local sales tax, which would need to be passed by a referendum. "I wouldn't have put one in unless it had a referendum," Davis said.
He said Harnett County has lost 2,500 jobs in the last 2 1/2 years, causing a loss in tax revenue.
But Davis said he does not think the sales tax bills would pass the House.
Rep. Bill Hurley, D-Cumberland, said he put in a similar bill at request of Cumberland County officials.
"We have a lot of military in our county who do not share in property taxes that pay for public education and infrastructure," Hurley said, adding that Cumberland County does not have a broad tax base.
The revenues from the 1 cent increase would fund public schools and water and sewer capital projects.
Hurley also proposed the bill that would exchange a 1 cent sales tax increase for the elimination of state reimbursements to local government.