July 16, 2015

The AP details how the Senate’s sales tax formula adjustment will help rural economies.

“A handful of storefronts remain open in downtown Yanceyville, where half of a former clothing store has been turned into a law office and an old barber shop is now vacant.

Down the road, Caswell County’s closest thing to a big-box store is the Walmart Express, a miniature-sized version of the superstore. And with Yanceyville’s theater closed around a half-century ago, movie-goers drive thirty minutes across county lines to the nearest cinema, where associated sales tax dollars stay behind when they leave.

Such represents the tough economic luck for Caswell, sitting along the Virginia line and halfway between Durham and Greensboro.

“We got missed by the railroad, we got missed by the interstate, God knows we can’t get missed again,” George Daniel, a local lawyer and a former powerful state senator, said last week in Yanceyville.

But a proposal at the General Assembly to redistribute more sales tax dollars to commercially poor counties such as Caswell could be a fortunate blessing to build infrastructure, improve schools and attract new business.

Over a five-year period, the Senate budget calls for a shift from distributing sales tax dollars earmarked for local governments based mostly on where the money is spent to a system that divides most of the revenue between counties based on population.

Caswell County is one of several rural counties projected to benefit the most. Their local sales tax revenue would grow from $2.4 million today to at least $5.5 million in 2020, according to the General Assembly’s nonpartisan research staff.”(AP)

And the article makes clear the big urban counties only face small reductions or a slower rate of growth of sales tax revenue, not big cuts. “powerhouse counties Mecklenburg and Wake could see no growth or a slight decline in local sales tax revenue.”

Wake and Mecklenburg could make up the revenue by cutting grandiose transit projects or sports team subsidies.

In the sales tax debate, here’s the question for Legislators. Do you care about helping the majority who don’t live in Charlotte or Raleigh?

Look at the map.