Policy Report

Strike Four? Despite three strikes on tax hikes, Harnett County officials try again

posted on in City & County Government, Property Rights, Spending & Taxes
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Key points:

  • Harnett County commissioners are asking county voters to approve a $1.2 million tax increase at a time of high unemployment. This amount is equal to a property tax increase of 1.8 cents per hundred dollars of value.
  • This is the third time county officials have sought a higher sales tax and the fourth vote on higher taxes since 2007. Voters soundly rejected each of the earlier attempts.
  • County commissioners say the money would help pay for new schools but claim the tax would at best “mitigate” a property tax hike. Residents would still pay a portion of the sales tax.
  • County commissioners did not ask voters to approve bonds for school and jail construction in recent years and instead used more expensive financing methods for those projects.
  • New sales tax revenue would cover only a small portion of the debt to pay for the proposed $158 million in new school construction.
  • Regardless of the county commissioners’ promises, all new revenues would go into the general fund and could be spent by commissioners for any legal purpose.
  • Since the special county taxing authority was established by the legislature in 2007, voters have turned down 68 of 85 requests for tax increases, sending the message that county commissioners must be more responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money before voters will entrust them with tax increases.
  • With a slow recovery and unemployment still high, do Harnett County voters want to put another burden on small employers?

Regional Brief 82 Strike Four? Despite three strikes on tax hikes, Harnett County officials try again

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