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Mecklenburg Voters Say 'No' To Sales Tax

Lisa Worf

Mecklenburg County voters did not approve a quarter cent sales tax that would have gone mostly to raise CMS employee pay.  Sixty-one percent of voters said 'no' to that.  

The sales tax didn’t have much organized opposition.  The idea just didn’t take. It lost in precincts throughout the county, save for one in Davidson and a few neighborhoods just southeast of uptown. 

A group called Together 4 Meck sprung into action to advocate for the tax.

"It would’ve been nice to have had more time to educate and I think then we’d have seen a different level of engagement," says Marinn Bengel, one of the group's leaders. 

She also said the language on the ballot may have tripped up voters, since it didn’t mention anything about CMS, Central Piedmont Community College, the library system and the Arts and Science Council - the groups that would receive the money. 

Together 4 Meck campaigned for the tax at several schools, often joined by outgoing CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison. 

Supporters of the tax gathered last night.  School Board Chairwoman Mary McCray was there.  She wouldn’t address any questions about Superintendent Heath Morrison’s sudden resignation, but said this before the sales tax results were in.

"This referendum is bigger than the superintendent.  This referendum is about 18,000 people that we employ.  He is one person.  So let me make that clear."

Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark, soon to be Interim Superintendent, also showed up.  She said going forward CMS will advocate for higher employee pay both at the state and local levels.