The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Doing our part: Given county efforts to curtail spending, a modest sales tax increase is justified

A proposition to increase the sales tax on non-food items in Orange County is a necessary move in raising revenue to help improve government services and spur economic development.

The referendum, which residents will vote on in November, could raise the sales tax from 7.75 to 8 percent.

If approved, the new tax could generate nearly $600,000 in revenue by the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year and 2.3 million dollars annually in subsequent years.

This funding is vital to get Orange County’s fiscal house in order and support needed services.

According to County Manager Frank Clifton, about 58 percent of revenue from the tax increase will go to providing new technology for Orange County schools and enhancing the county’s libraries and emergency services.

It is the government’s obligation to do what it takes to maintain public services, and public outcry has brought attention to the dire need for an upgrade.

The remainder of the proceeds from the tax will go to promoting new businesses in Orange County.

A financial stipend will encourage businesses to invest in Orange County, therefore stimulating the economy and attracting residents to buy locally as well as attracting consumers from out of town. More business in the county will lead to increased property tax revenue.

County officials have made spending cuts first priority, so the tax increase comes as a last resort.

Significant reductions have been made in government staffing, and nonprofit funds have been decreased to lighten up this year’s budget.

Some financial projects have been put on the back burner.

To ease the burden of the increased tax, the county plans to tag it onto non-food items only.
This makes the tax less regressive and fair for all social classes.

Orange County has been hit hard by the recession, and to recover, a reasonable increase in the sales tax is justified.

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