Commissioners place quarter-cent sales tax for education on March ballot 

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2019

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The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to place a referendum for a quarter-cent county sales tax to fund education on the ballot for the March 3, 2020, primary.
Commissioners approved the resolution on Thursday, Sept. 26, to put the sales tax before county voters and commit all revenue it generates to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. WSFCS Board of Education has passed a resolution in support of this that states the revenues will be used to increase employee salaries, including certified teachers and classified employees.
“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done for teachers in the modern day, primarily because it’s an ongoing form of money,” says County Commissioner Chair Dave Plyler. “It will help them in future days and months and years.”
If approved by voters, the tax would apply to some purchases in Forsyth County. Notable exceptions to the tax include groceries, gas, motor vehicles and some services. The additional quarter-cent sales tax would provide an estimated $13 million annually for education purposes.
Commissioners plan to repeal the one-cent property tax increase in this year’s budget if this sales tax passes. The property tax increase generates an estimated $3.7 million that currently funds teacher supplements. The quarter-cent sales tax will produce more than three times that amount.
County Commissioner Vice-Chair Don Martin said the commissioners are committed to using the quarter-cent sales tax revenue for education “forever” and will not reallocate it for other purposes, even if the county saw a decline in other tax revenues.
Statewide, voters in more than 40 counties have ratified a quarter-cent county sales tax, including Orange, Durham, Surry, Rockingham, Davidson and Randolph.