by: Tina Terry Updated:
Mecklenburg County - Leaders in counties all over North Carolina have major concerns regarding the Senate bill.
Eyewitness News reported on Wednesday that the plan would allow most counties to increase their local sales taxes to pay for things like teacher raises, but it would also stop Mecklenburg County's plan to boost teacher salaries.Eyewitness News talked to leaders in six local counties who all said they have major concerns about the plan. Gaston County commissioner Chad Brown said the bill takes the responsibility for teacher salaries out of the hands of lawmakers and puts it on the shoulders of commissioners.
"The county cannot continue to put money into education with salaries when we have our own employees as well," said Brown. The bill would allow counties to levy a local sales tax to pay for transportation or education including teacher raises. However, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners wants the bill delayed, because it creates a 2.5 percent sales tax cap. Mecklenburg County's local sales tax is already a 2.5 percent and Mecklenburg and five other counties already have the freedom to tax up to 2.75 percent. "This is a large change pushed through quickly," Brown said. "It needs more discussion so everyone understands all it implies."
We talked to commissioners in Cabarrus, Catawba, Iredell, Rowan, and Union counties. All of them had reservations about the bill. Many like Brown want more control over what their local sales tax dollars can pay for. "Sales tax should be used for things we can help ourselves with if we're going to increase it," Brown said.