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EDITORIAL — Vote yes to fix Charlotte County’s schools

The Charlotte County Sales Tax referendum to fund capital improvement projects for the county school system is a plan worthy of approval from Charlotte County voters.

The yes or no question on the November ballot asks voters to vote on the approval of an additional 1% county sales tax. The estimated $300,000 per year derived from the tax would be used to repair and renovate schools.

County leaders have said the only alternative to the increased sales tax is an increased property tax. Either way, the decision has been made by county leaders that additional tax revenues are needed to fund school projects.

Compared to property taxes which tend to be more permanent and can be used for anything, this sale tax referendum, sets aside a specific pot of money the school system can plan on to fund building repairs and renovation projects year after year. A change in the board of supervisors, school board or superintendent cannot change this funding mechanism.

Charlotte County’s schools facilities have been allowed to deteriorate by the county leaders for far too long, but the courthouse looks really great. This election question gives the voters, and those whose kids use the schools on a daily basis, an opportunity to take control of the situation and implement a way to fix the problem with minimal impact on the wallets of Charlotte County’s residents.

A sales tax increase is one of the most fair ways to tax. Everyone pays a portion of what they buy. Those who can afford to purchase more pay more tax. There are no deductions, tax shelters or ways to avoid the sales tax. That also means the poor pay the same rate as the rich which is a disadvantage of the sales tax, but the burden is lessened for all by those non-residents who pay Charlotte County sales tax by passing through the area.

Voters should color in the “yes” bubble on the ballot to give Charlotte County Public Schools a dedicated revenue stream to fix its deteriorating buildings. During this time of pandemic, we have learned how hard virtual learning can be and how important it is to have our students in quality facilities. This tax will help make that happen.

(The views in this editorial are of The Charlotte Gazette editorial staff. This editorial was written by Editor Roger Watson. He can be reached at Editor@TheCharlotteGazette.com or (434) 808-0622.)