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Stories and features about North Carolina candidates, voters, and the politics of the 2014 mid-term elections. Polls are open across N.C. until 7:30 p.m. on election day, November 4.

NC Senate Committe Relaxes Restrictions On Proposed County Tax Legislation

Walmart via Flickr

A North Carolina Senate committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday morning on a measure that would restrict how much counties can raise their sales taxes and what they can spend the revenue on.

The Senate finance committee approved last week a bill that would allow counties to raise their sales taxes by a half-percent -- and to use the new revenue for either schools or for transportation costs.

But leaders from counties responded that the new measure would be restrictive. Now, Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), is saying counties could split that half percent between schools and transportation -- or split it with something else.

"So if you're going to want to use a quarter of that for general purpose, you need to tie that or attach that to either the transit or the education," Gunn says.

The bill also caps sales taxes at 7.5 percent. Commissioners in Wake and Mecklenburg County have considered raising their taxes above that.

Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) says that current law would already allow counties like Wake to raise the sales tax up to 7.75 percent for a project such as a future light rail system.

"This bill will take from Wake County the authority to do that," Stein says. "So please don't represent this as being helpful to Wake County in any way shape or form."

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