Friday, October 7, 2011

Quarter-cent sales tax increase on November ballot

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, registered voters in Orange County will have the opportunity to vote for or against the quarter-cent sales and use tax. If approved, every $100 spent by shoppers in Orange County will generate 25 cents for education and economic development. Around $2.5 million would be generated in one year based on current projections. The proposed sales tax would not apply to groceries, gasoline and prescription medicines.

If approved, one half of the revenues will be distributed to county and city schools on a per pupil basis for facility improvement of older schools and the purchase of technology. The other half of the revenues will help grow business through a sustainable and well-managed economic development plan that fits the unique and diverse Orange County community. The blueprint for attracting and expanding strong business in Orange County would include funds for entrepreneurs, small business loans, innovation centers for new businesses and support for agriculture businesses. Funds will also be used to improve vital county infrastructure that underpin a robust business environment such as utilities, water and sewer. The focus on directing funds for schools and jobs is a 10-year commitment by the Orange County Commissioners.

The proposed sales tax would apply to people who shop in Orange County including visitors, tourists and temporary residents. Annually, visitors to Orange County generate nearly 20 percent of the sales tax revenue. The proposed sales tax will help diversify the tax base and share some of the tax burden currently shouldered by home-owners paying property taxes. If approved, the quarter-cent sales tax is targeted to begin April 1, 2012.

The wording for the proposed quarter-cent sales tax on the Tuesday, Nov. 8, ballot will be: For or Against.
Local sales and use tax at the rate of one-quarter percent (0.25%) in addition to all other state and local sales and use taxes.

Voters are encouraged to learn more by going to the county website or calling the county office at 245-2307.

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