Art Tax 2019

The Art Tax Referendum 

What’s the Art Tax? 

A vote was held at the July 2nd County Commissioner’s Meeting to place additional sales tax on the November 6th ballot. The tax in question is regarding a ¼cent county sales and use tax, where one cent in every four dollars spent, in Mecklenburg County, will go to arts, culture, parks and greenways. 

Where will the tax go? 

The expected $50mil tax increase will be divided in the following ways: 

  • 45% ($22.5 million) will go to arts and culture. This will be used to fund and support: educational art programs, dance studios, or museum exhibits. The money will be used to further the positive impact of arts and cultural activities in the Mecklenburg community. 

  • 34% ($17 million) will go towards maintaining parks and greenways, and $2 million of that will be reserved for future land acquisition.

  • 16% ($8 million) will go to education and its related expenses, allowing county classrooms to have additional financial support. 

  • 5% ($2.5 million) will be put towards bettering parks and greenways of the County’s towns. 

Who supports this? 

This tax is supported by every community representative who came to speak at the meeting, and seven out of the nine county commissioners. The community speakers expressed their support as the county arts programs have shaped their lives in many different ways. From young students who voiced appreciation for their school programs, to visually impaired citizens who raved about museum exhibits being accessible to them, many members of the community support this. In addition, seven county commissioners expressed similar feelings of appreciation towards the arts and culture engagement and impact on the community. County Commissioner Rodriguez-McDowell said this tax will be “another tool to utilize” to combat issues in the community. 

Who opposes it? 

The tax was however opposed by two county commissioners. Elaine Powell was first to express her uncertainty, claiming that there was not enough public engagement outside of the County’s meeting room. It was also expressed that, according to a law passed years ago by the General Assembly, this is the only possibility for such a tax that the County will have in the foreseeable future. Pat Cotham also voiced concerns that a similar tax failed in 2014. She also pointed out that there are more pressing issues to raise funding for then what the tax will target, such as homelessness and affordable housing. According to Cotham, “the cake isn’t ready to go into the oven,” and needs to be looked over. 

What’s next? 

As of now, the $4 cup of coffee you bought in Charlotte still won’t have the tax added to it, but if the proposition is approved on the November 6th election, you will pay a cent more for it then. 

Content Authored By: Laura Comino

B Holladay