County, town officials anxiously await
word on sales tax redistribution
plenty of angst to go around these days as Dare County and local
municipal officials start to work on their budgets for the next fiscal
year even as they keep an eye on what the General Assembly might decide
to do with a proposed redistribution of local sales tax money.
potential impact to Dare County could mean a $10.8 million loss in
revenues needed to support the county's budget – about 10 cents in
towns also would feel the impact. Chris Layton, Duck town manager, said
that very preliminary estimates show a potential loss to that town of
$250,000 to $300,000 – the equivalent of about 2 cents in tax rate.
county has hired lobbyists to work on this and other state issues.
Officials from the local governments have huddled. And local elected
officials are spending a lot of time on the phone or on the road in
attempts to convince legislators that this isn't a good idea.
a Robin Hood "take-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor" move, Republican
N.C. Sen. Harry Brown told the News & Observer of Raleigh that he
will file legislation that changes how the state distributes a portion
of those taxes to local governments.
rumblings about the plan indicate that the formula used would favor
poorer, rural counties by cutting the amounts given to wealthier
counties, such as Dare, which collects a high portion of sales tax
because of its tourism-based economy.
to the News & Observer, Brown “provided a document authored by
legislative staff that details a system that distributes the money
based on population. The document says its 'parameters' were set by the
office of Senate leader Phil Berger.”
The Island Free Press' requests for the document, which is a public record, have not been answered.
to the News & Observer, the plan document shows that high-poverty
rural counties, such as Greene, Caswell and Jones, would see their
sales tax revenues more than double.
75 percent of the local sales tax money goes where the tax is collected
and the remainder is shared based on population. That remainder is also
"adjusted," based on a formula used to extrapolate population.
rate used for Dare County – which benefits most from the adjustment
formula - increases its portion by almost half while other
counties have rates that reduce the amount that they otherwise would
Although Dare County has a year-round
population of about 35,000, its seasonal population climbs to about a
quarter of a million each week during the tourist season. That
increased population brings with it needs for increases services, such
as law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, and public works. It is
unknown whether that is adjusted in the formula.
Click here to see the current adjustment factor table for North Carolina counties.