LETTER — Sales tax boost is fair and desperately needed

Published 4:31 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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To The Editor:

Recently there have been several letters concerning the Charlotte County Sales Tax Referendum which is on the ballot. Most have been in strong support of the sales tax which will provide much-needed funds for school repairs and renovations.

One writer opposed the sales tax, alluding to his continued support for a combined elementary school. That ship has sailed. The citizens of Charlotte County voiced their opposition to the proposal loud and clear, voting out the school board members who supported it.

The county has recently invested money in our three elementary schools with excellent results. The renovations have potentially increased the life of those schools by 20-25 years. Randolph-Henry and Central Middle need similar repairs and renovations. These repairs must and will be done. That is a certainty. Money will be spent and it has to come from somewhere. A 1% sales tax – that’s just one penny on the dollar – has the potential to bring in over $300,000 a year to be used for school repairs.

But some of you may be thinking, I don’t have any kids in school here, maybe never have, why should I care about the schools? Simple answer, improved schools attract more people and businesses, which add to our tax base and bring more revenue to the county. This is a tax that will be paid by everyone who spends money in the county, even people just passing through who buy Nabs and a Coke at the gas station.

This is an equitable tax and it allows you freedom of choice – choose to buy a raw chicken at the grocery store and it will not be taxed the 1%; choose the prepared chicken and you will pay the 1%. Buy ground beef at the store and cook it at home, no 1% tax; buy a hamburger at a fast food joint, pay the 1% sales tax. The choice is up to you. Since the necessities – groceries off the shelf and medications – will not be subject to the tax, this should not unduly burden even our least fortunate citizens.

This tax is fair, reasonable, and desperately needed. We never thought we would use such words to describe a tax but we see the necessity for it. Please join us and vote yes for schools.

Kathy Liston and Earl Strain

Charlotte County