Sam Hieb reports on legislative action that could protect local taxpayers in Wake County from a possible sales tax hike.

The General Assembly may have gummed up the works for tax-hike supporters in the state’s two largest counties, Wake and Mecklenburg. The state Senate passed a bill capping local sales tax levies at 2.5 percent, which is Mecklenburg’s current rate. If the House — which passed a different version of the bill — goes along with the Senate’s version, and Gov. Pat McCrory signs the measure into law, Mecklenburg would have to cancel its sales tax referendum.

Meantime, in Wake County, commissioners have not decided whether to ask voters for a quarter-cent hike on top of the current 2 percent rate. Even if the commission puts the 0.25 percent raise on the November ballot, the tax cap bill could preclude Wake from joining Orange and Durham counties in creating a regional transit system, heavily reliant on fixed rail, because the county would have to impose a half-cent sales tax dedicated to transit to join the regional system.

Stay tuned.