Vote yes

Published 12:08 pm Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Tuesday (March 2), Hertford County voters will go to the polls and decide whether or not they want to pay more for the goods they purchase within the county’s borders.

In a special referendum, the county is seeking to increase the state sales tax from 7.75 cents (per dollar of purchase) to 8 cents.

While a possible tax increase, especially during an economic downturn, would normally be unwelcomed in a majority of households, this request is a bit different.

What if we told you that you are already paying 8 cents worth of tax on the dollar in the majority of retail transactions made at Hertford County businesses…would you believe it?

It’s true.

The next time you make a purchase in Hertford County, check your receipt and do the math. For example, you order an item off the $1 menu at a local fast food restaurant. The state sales tax on that purchase is 7.75 cents. But what do you wind-up paying….eight cents because there is no such coin as a one-fourth penny.

Since we’re dealing with a state sales tax that includes a fraction, the amount is rounded-up to the next whole number. The only time the state sales tax works out to a whole number is on $4 purchases and multiples of four.

These quarter-cents add up quickly. Hertford County officials project that this very slight increase in the sales tax will generate $320,000 annually, money they have earmarked for capital improvement projects, one of which is a much-needed new courthouse.

The only question left unanswered is whose pocket is currently being lined with that quarter-cent. It’s not the county and it’s not the state. That leaves only one option – the business owner. That’s not to say they are doing anything illegal, just that all they have to report to the state is total sales multiplied by 7.75 cents per dollar.

The county and its citizens can benefit from the extra quarter-cent. If you shop in Hertford County, you are already paying that extra tax. Why not make it an official 8 cents and guarantee that the money comes back to help us all in the long term.

We urge Hertford County citizens to vote yes to the quarter-cent sales tax increase.