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Future Of County Sales Tax Bill Looks Bleak

The future of a bill to cap county sales tax at 2.5 percent is bleak. This after the House Finance Committee took up the measure earlier this morning.

The bill was shot down in a unanimous vote. And its fate was clear early in the proceedings. The bill had been cobbled together by a conference committee and that according to Committee Chairwoman Julia Howard, limited what the Finance Committee could do. "Remember, this conference report, we cannot change it in this setting. So if you do have a motion not to concur, which I expect.

Representative Edgar Starnes jumped at the opportunity. "I move we do not concur." Chairwoman Howard responded by saying they should probably finish debating the bill first. They still had six more sections to go through.

The move means the sales tax bill will likely have to go back to a conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate. Something that seems unlikely given the General Assembly’s desire to end the short session by Saturday.

And the likely death of the sales tax cap is welcome news for Mecklenburg county leaders.  If the bill became law it would render moot a county referendum slated for this fall to add a quarter cent to the county's sales tax rate. The added revenue would go to local teacher pay increases and to prop up the areas struggling arts and science centers.