Northampton, Va., supervisors are considering raising the local sales tax by one cent, collecting up to $1.4 million a year to repair and rebuild public schools, according to the Eastern Shore Post.
“A lot of that sales tax would be paid or generated by people who are moving through here and stop for meals, as opposed to just raising property taxes all the time,” said Chairman Spencer Murray. “This would be a significant piece of new revenue for the county, even though it would just have to go to the schools. We just borrowed $28 million to fix Northampton High School and we know that our elementary schools are going to have to have work as well.”
Northampton would be following the lead of Halifax County, a small county in southern Virginia about as populated as Accomack.
Halifax County recently decided to implement an additional 1% sales tax for capital improvements to its public schools after supervisors learned it would cost $88 million to repair Halifax County High School, according to a report on the WSLS 10 website.
A brand-new high school would cost Halifax County $100 million.
Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly introduced House Bill 1634 to authorize Halifax County to impose the additional sales tax. It passed in the Senate and the House, and Gov. Ralph Northam approved the bill March 19.
About 71% of Halifax County voters passed a referendum for the 1% sales tax this November.
Supervisor Oliver Bennett asked if the money is guaranteed to local public schools, considering they are not receiving the amount of funding from the Virginia Lottery that was originally intended for them, he said.
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