JLF expert urges Buncombe County voters to question a proposed sales tax hike

Buncombe County voters will decide this fall whether to endorse a 0.25-cent sales tax hike. Michael Sanera believes those voters should ask some questions first.

“Voters are told that an extra $7 million per year in sales tax will pay for new buildings and renovations at Asheville-Buncombe County Technical Community College,” said Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Director of Research and Local Government Studies. “The government sales pitch suggests this additional taxpayer spending will create jobs. But our new report arms voters with questions that will help them put that sales pitch to the test.”

Buncombe County voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to allow county commissioners to add 0.25 cents to the local sales-tax rate.

“The first thing voters should know about the sales-tax increase is that money raised from the tax would go to the county’s General Fund, not specifically to community college projects,” Sanera warned. “Voters should beware that voting for the sales-tax increase would give county commissioners a blank check to spend in any way they choose.”

Sanera spells out a half dozen questions voters should ask before casting a ballot. “First, why should voters trust that commissioners will spend new tax revenue on buildings and renovations at AB Tech?” he asked. “The commissioners’ promises are only promises. Voters have no legal recourse if those promises are broken.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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