Press "Enter" to skip to content

Macon County Board of Commissioners Votes to place Sales Tax Referendum on November Ballot

The Macon County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday night to once again place a referendum for a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the ballot for citizens to vote on this November. This decision comes after an identical resolution was voted down in 2022 , which many on the board of commissioners attribute to being due to lack of information surrounding the measure. The November 2022 referendum question on the ballot to increase the sales tax failed with 55% of voters voting against it.

The North Carolina General Assembly granted county boards of commissioners the authority to levy, subject to voter approval, an additional one-quarter cent county sales and use tax. Macon County has the lowest property tax rate in the state of North Carolina at $0.27 cents per $100 of assessed value and looks to be able to maintain that position even as it undertakes major capital projects. The quarter-cent sales tax, which would apply to residents and out-of-towners alike, is projected to accrue about $2.4 million for the county annually.

“If we get the quarter-cent, we could essentially drop our mill rate by two mills,” said Commissioner Vice Chair Josh Young during Macon County’s budget kickoff meeting in February. “I think it’s a strong point to make to the people that we could collect funds from pass-through revenue and offset our local mill rate by two cents and keep all our CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) fully funded.”

If approved by voters, the sales tax increase would apply to purchases on items such as clothing, household supplies, electronics, and prepared food and drinks from restaurants or stores. However, there are several items that would remain exempt from the sales tax, including prescription medication, gasoline, certain agricultural supplies, motor vehicles, and non-prepared food (groceries).

The purpose of the sales tax increase is to generate additional revenue for the county, which could be used to fund various projects and services that benefit the community. Macon County has specifically supported using any additionally generated funding to support capital projects surrounding education – more specifically the construction of a new Franklin High School facility and renovations to Highlands School. Proponents of the sales tax increase argue that it is a necessary step to ensure the county’s fiscal stability and maintain essential services.

“If there ever was a fair tax, it would be this sales tax,” Commissioner John Shearl said on Tuesday night when offering up his second to Commissioner Paul Higdon’s original motion to place the vote on the November ballot. “Let’s let the people decide.”

Opponents, however, are concerned about the impact of the sales tax increase on residents, particularly those with lower incomes. They argue that the tax increase would place an additional burden on already-struggling families and individuals.

The referendum will now be put to a vote by the citizens of Macon County this November, who will have the final say on whether or not the sales tax increase will be implemented.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *