Sales tax increase to appear on Swain ballot

Swain County residents will be asked whether they support an additional quarter-cent sales tax when they vote during the Nov. 8 general election.

If the sales tax referendum passes, the county’s sales tax will increase from 6.75 percent to an even 7 percent and the revenue raised will be specifically designated for projects for Swain County Schools. If approved, the sales tax will not apply to gas or grocery purchases. 

The additional quarter-cent revenue would generate an estimated $290,000 a year for the school system to use for capital improvements to Swain’s five school buildings. The Swain County Board of Education requested the additional quarter-cent sales tax referendum because capital needs continue to grow and state and federal funding continue to remain static or shrink. 

Jackson County voters approved the same quarter-cent sales tax during the June 7 primary election — the only difference is the revenue will go to Jackson County Schools as well as Southwestern Community College infrastructure projects. While only 22 percent of Jackson residents voted in the June 7 primary, the sales tax referendum was approved by two-thirds of voters. 

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