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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposed sales tax increase to help fund public education has made her unpopular with many voters. However, mayors throughout the state, including a few in our area are banning together in support of the tax increase.

Perdue claims the state budget cuts by the Republican-controlled legislature has hurt education, and this proposed sales tax increase is the answer. Now mayors, including Mayor David Cignotti of Wrightsville Beach have come together issuing an open letter asking people in the state to support the plan.

“You have to invest in the present for the future,” Cignotti said.

Cignotti is one of more than 50 mayors throughout the state who are pulling together in support of Perdue’s plan to increase the sales tax by 3/4 of a cent.

“The dropout rate in North Carolina, let alone our nation is very high and I believe we need to do all we can to support education,” he said.

Don Hayes, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Education, says now is the wrong time for any type of tax increase.

“I personally would not be in favor of a tax increase at this time,” Hayes said. “I think the economy being in the condition that it’s in, to me it’s not a good time to be raising taxes.”

The tax increase would raise as much as $750 million over one year for education. Mayor Cignotti says every little bit would help.

“I believe a slight increase in the sales tax is the most reasonable way to support education in a time like this with the economy being as difficult as it is,” Cignotti said.

Hayes says the sales tax would do more harm than good.

“Certainly I’m an advocate for education, but also I think we have to look at the overall economy of the people in this state,” Hayes said. “Parents and many people are having it very difficult.”

“I understand the economy is difficult, but I believe we’re doing ourselves more damage if we don’t prepare our young people to compete in the world today, then our nation’s future is in jeopardy,” Cignotti said.

The increase would raise the sales tax in most counties from 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent. New Hanover County would go from seven to 7.75 percent, because of a countywide 0.25-percent sales tax approved in 2010.

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7 Comments on "Wrightsville Beach mayor, school board chair disagree on sales tax increase plan"

2015 years 10 months ago

What was the county sales tax increase for last year.We just had gas tax increase a lottery increase for schools what is the government doing with all the tax monies from the private sector it may me all the high paid city county and state government employs and all their pet projects,just look at all the taxpayers money being spent downtown,but they could not fix the water and sewage system so they from a quasi company (CFPUA with overpaid salaries) with the county causing even the county residents to have to pay to fix Wilmingtons problems and overpaying for the same service they always have had.Time for a real change in government,the privates sector has to stand up against government creating all this public sector jobs and having to raise taxes to pay for them and letting not pay their share insurance and retirement.

Howard Nails
2015 years 10 months ago

Hayes thinks it’s a bad time? How much would .75 cents effect the average person? I didn’t notice it the last time and I certainly didn’t change my standard of living when it was rescinded. That’s crazy Republican talk.

2015 years 10 months ago

Just as President Johnson “declared war” on litter, Bev is doing the same with the education system in NC. It doesn’t matter how much additional funding is thrown at the system. Until parents get involved in the education of their children, we’ll continue to suffer from poor test scores and high dropout rates.

Sadly, when a school system receives an influx of cash, the first thing they do is go out and spend it. Just as an extra $5 in a person’s pocket will burn a hole in it, the school systems operate in the same manner.

Bev screams loudly about what a disservice the Legislature did to the education system when they let the old (temporary) tax expire. Yet the Legislature ADDED teaching jobs.

Carol Kramer
2015 years 10 months ago

The increase would raise the sales tax in most counties from 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent.

That’s a WHOPPING 11.1% increase in sales taxes!!!!
I can’t stand it when a large tax increase is being characterized as a tiny 3/4 of a cent!

Very happy to see Don Hayes weighing in on this issue.

2015 years 10 months ago

Why is it not mentioned that Saffo also supports this? That’s what I heard on the news anyway.

Jon Deputy
2015 years 10 months ago

You do realize that NC is #49 out of 50 in what we spend per child on education. How can we possibly have a top notch educational system when we’re #49?

If you ran a business, and there were 50 companies in your industry. Your company was #49 in what it spent on research & development, capital improvments and infrastructure, and employee salaries. Would you really expect to be a leader in your industry. NO you would not. Why is it that you expect to be able to be 1 spot out of dead last in spending, and then BITCH about how bad of a job the schools are doing. Give me a break.

Several years ago, an elementary school in NHC was dead last and failing almost every category in “No Child Left Behind”. Because they were failing, they qualified for a federal grant of $40,000. With this, they used half to hire 2 after school (and Saturdays) reading tutors and used the other half to pay for busing the kids home after school and on Saturdays. In 1 year, the school went from dead last to #3 in NHC and passing in eEVERY category of NCLB. WOW – with a measly $40K – they turned the entire school around.

Guess what happened to the grant money now that they had improved – you guessed it – NO MORE MONEY for the very program that brought the school to the top in the first place.

2015 years 10 months ago

First,a huge portion of our tax monies goes to education as it stands. Throwing money at a “problem” is not the answer, although the government usually does just that (especially since it is always tax money). Education scores need to improve and drop-out rates need to fall, but adding more high paying administrative jobs and the like will not make that happen.

Second, our area sales tax rate is high and we are in a full blown recession.
Falling lock step into the ‘raise taxes and then throw tax money at it’ is not the right plan of action. I agree with Chairman Don Hayes and believe his vision to show insight and true leadership


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