North Carolina Local Sales Tax Proposed to Save Beaches
- May 15, 2012 | Susan McLain
Emerald Isle, North Carolina is requesting “…that the N.C. General Assembly approve special local legislation authorizing the town to levy a new 1-percent ‘beach preservation tax’ on all sales and use transactions within Emerald Isle provided town voters approve the proposed tax in a referendum.”
The goal of the proposal, according to Town Manager Frank Rush, “…is to ensure funding in the face of uncertain state contributions to beach nourishment projects.” But first, they have to have legislation in place that allows the town to request approval from the residents to impose the tax. This might “…set a precedent and could result in other municipalities seeking a similar authority….”
However, Rush feels the beach nourishment effort is unique. “Currently, the town relies on a combination of funding sources for beach nourishment, with about 50 percent provided by proceeds from the portion of the Carteret County room occupancy tax that is restricted to beach projects and another 25 percent coming from the proceeds from special district property taxes levied by the town for beach projects.
The remaining 25 percent has traditionally come from the state.” But the state has begun to deny funding requested for beach nourishment projects due to lack of funds. The proposed tax is only one of three proposals:
- Forego the state contribution and conduct beach nourishment projects with an average of $700,000 less available each year;
- Double the current 4.5 cent and 1.5 cent special district property tax rates to replace the lost state funds; or
- Gain approval for the sales tax levy on all local sales and use tax transactions.
The estimation and expectation is that the sales and use tax could bring in the $700,000 expected to be lost from state funds.