LETTER — Sales tax can be considered economic development

Published 4:20 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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To The Editor:

As citizens across America go to the polls November 3, a large majority will be focusing on who will be the next president of the United States.

While this is an important issue, citizens in Charlotte County must also make another important decision, whether or not to approve a 1% increase in the county’s sales tax rate.

I believe this decision will affect the future of Charlotte County much more than the presidential race. I urge voters to vote yes for the schools.

The 1% increase will directly benefit the Charlotte County Public School System and allow school officials to make much-needed repairs to our five school buildings. According to county officials, this minor tax increase would result in a $300,000 increase in revenue. In addition, unlike many other taxes that the county implements, the extra revenue generated by the sales tax increase would be strictly used for school repairs. This is mandated by state code, so there is no way of utilizing the money for other purposes. Finally, the tax rate would revert back to the old rate of 5.3% in 2050. This is almost unheard of.

While I love the thought of helping schools, I have another motive behind supporting this increase. I firmly believe the 1% increase in our sales tax rate is a form of economic development for the county.

Many of you have probably heard people say, “The county will get the money one way or another.” This is absolutely true. In order to afford the much-needed repairs, the Board of Supervisors could vote to raise real estate or personal property taxes again. Why would any business relocate or expand to a county that is constantly increasing their real estate or personal property rates? They would just choose a locality that had lower taxes, which would hurt Charlotte County and my hometown of Keysville.

Now is the time to take action. I urge each individual in Charlotte County to consider this when making a decision on November 3. The future of Charlotte County and the school system truly rests in the voter’s hands.

George Sandridge