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FIRST ON 3: Wilmington Chamber of Commerce advocating more taxes

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce sent out the following email today, encouraging people to sign a petition to extend a one cent sales tax to fund schools:

Let our legislators know that underfunding NC public schools isn't an option.

Help Great Schools in NC and the Quality Schools Coalition in their fight to EXTEND THE ONE-PENNY SALES TAX to protect our schools!

The General Assembly’s proposed cuts to our public school system will cripple our schools, forcing local districts to raise class sizes, lay off thousands of teachers and forgo investments in books, technology and maintenance.

Underfunded schools directly impact the classroom. Proposed cuts will reduce the number of teachers, teaching assistants, and other critical resources. Class sizes will continue to grow. We're aiming for 50,000 signatures.

Sign the petition now... and forward to your friends and neighbors. Funding quality public schools is a non-partisan issue: SIGN THE PETITION: http://www.greatschoolsnc.org

The temporary sales tax was initiated in 2009 by the Democrats who then controlled the House, Senate and governor's mansion. The reason was to help fill a $4.5 billion budget gap two years ago.

But the tax was also designed to be temporary and expire June 30th. That was one of the caveats to get it passed.

The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce says funding quality schools by extending the tax is a non-partisan issue. Yet it, along with other organizations, are using scare tactics to get their point across. Namely, they claim, as you read above, that budget cuts will mean thousands of teachers will be sent home. What they aren't saying is that while some teaching positions may be cut or go unfilled, it's up to each individual school board to decide where the cuts will come. They could chose to eliminate an assistant principal, or an assistant, or a coach, or even a janitor. No one at the General Assembly is mandating that the cuts apply only to teachers or teaching assistants.

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