by Sam Hieb
Later this week the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners is is expected to approve a $426 million budget without a property tax increase. However, some commissioners want to put a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot:
County Commissioner Fleming El-Amin wanted a 2.3-cent increase in the county property-tax rate, as recommended by County Manager Dudley Watts, but several commissioners proposed a sales-tax referendum in November with the money going towards debt service for court facilities and avoiding a property-tax increase.
County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt wanted a referendum on the quarter-cent sales-tax increase but favored keeping the property-tax increase in the budget for the time being.
Both El-Amin and Whisenhunt said they are concerned that referendum voters might not approve the higher sales tax.
“It’s a reality. If the sales tax does not pass, then we have to raise the taxes,” Whisenhunt said in an interview.
“I just thought it was reality to go ahead and put it in the budget. Then if the sales tax passes, reduce the tax rate.”
JLF city and county policy analyst Julie Tisdale looks at the perils of increasing local sales taxes.