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How the 1/4 % sales tax would impact your wallet

Guilford County voters will say yes or no to the increase. The money will be used for schools.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — One penny. It doesn't sound like much until someone wants to take a quarter of it. Guilford County voters have ¼ cent sales tax on the ballot.

The money is earmarked for schools. But the tax will affect us all.

Right now, the sales tax rate is 6.75%. If the measure passes, it will be a flat 7%. For context, the highest sales tax in the state is in Orange County with a 7.5% tax rate.

Sales tax means when you buy something, you're going to be charged more tax. For example, a $4 can of hairspray will cost you an extra cent in tax.  But it's not that cut and dry. There are things you'll buy that aren't taxed.

“The tax not on vehicles, gas, prepared food, or food you buy at the grocery store. It does not apply to RX drugs,” said Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing.

The County Manager estimates the increased sales tax will generate around $19 million for Guilford County Schools. The money is to be used for teacher and assistant pay, supplies, and repair and maintenance of buildings.

Where is the lottery money you ask? Guilford County got $30 million from the lottery last year. The county nor the school district can decide how it’s spent, the state does.

“The state legislature limits money used for capital (which would be all the repair and maintenance for the buildings). Guilford County was supposed to get $10 million each year for capital.  Changes were made and now just under $5 million and it is used to retire debt service,” said Lawing.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind, if the GCS bond passes but the sales tax does not, Lawing says be prepared to have property taxes increase to cover the expenses.

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