by Sam Hieb
The truth about Guilford County’s proposed quarter-cent sales tax hike, which commissioners voted 7-2 to put on the ballot in November:
The truth, however, is this: The current Board of Commissioners and the advocates for raising the sales tax can offer no guarantees whatsoever as to how the money will be spent. The current commissioners can make promises until they are blue in the face and the cows come home, but, if the tax increase passes, even the very first Board of Commissioners that decides what to do with the money will be a much different board than the board making the promises. In December, the nine-member board will have at least three new members and possibly four. Those commissioners would have made no promises whatsoever about the new revenues.
Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said it’s common for boards of commissioners to adopt resolutions stating the intent for new sales tax increase proceeds whenever a tax increase is put on the ballot, but he said that, in the end, that commitment is not legally binding on boards of commissioners.
“It is true that, as the years go by, different boards can change their minds,” Payne said.
But don’t worry, that won’t happen –the estimated $14 million in additional revenue would go toward —you guessed it —education.