Mecklenburg County has proposed a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund arts education and parks and recreation.
The estimated $50 million revenue from the tax would be spent on expanding parks, funding The Arts and Science Council and increasing teacher salaries. But, of course, not everyone supports a tax increase. Opponents of the tax say the money would be better spent elsewhere, like affordable housing and public transportation.
When it comes to arts funding, the counter-argument is always that the money could be better spent. And yes, we should expand public transportation, but we also should care about the arts and parks a lot more than we do. It is a little inconvenient that the sales tax might go up a tiny bit, but it’s only a quarter-cent — less than the penny you probably pass on the sidewalk every day.
A lack of funding for arts isn’t a problem that's unique to Mecklenburg County. We see it on our own campus and in the surrounding community.
The Arts Everywhere campaign promised to better the arts at UNC, but it has fallen drastically short. The arts buildings are leaking and still don’t receive enough funding. In Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, funding for the arts is an uphill battle. (This is an important thing to keep an eye on in the upcoming school board elections!)