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Group Has Raised $830,000 In Support Of Proposed Mecklenburg Sales Tax Increase

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Jeff Cravotta For WFAE
FILE PHOTO: "So You Think You Can Dance" Choreographer Peter Chu leads Reach students, members of Charlotte Ballet II and apprentice dancers from the Charlotte Academy in rehearsal.

The group campaigning for a quarter-cent sales tax for the arts, education and parks and greenways in Mecklenburg County has raised nearly $830,000, according to a campaign finance report released Tuesday.

Partnership for a Better Mecklenburg has spent $592,000 ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

The biggest contribution is $500,000 from the Thrive Fund, which is administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Duke Energy, Wells Fargo, the Carolina Panthers, and the Spangler companies have each given $50,000.

Former Mecklenburg Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour is running a campaign opposing the tax. The Mecklenburg Tax Alliance has raised $1,450, much of it from Ridenhour himself.

[RELATED: Charlotte Talks Forum On Proposed Mecklenburg Sales Tax Increase]

But Ridenhour told WFAE that other people not associated with his organization are spending money to defeat the tax. He said Republican Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari has bought several billboards in Charlotte that urge people to vote for him but against the tax.

If approved, the county's general sales tax rate would rise to 7.5%. The tax is projected to raise $50 million in its first year if approved.

About 45% of that would go to the Arts & Science Council. Thirty-four percent help fund parks and greenways, and 16% to supplement Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' teacher salaries.