Tax is good news

Published 7:51 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Southampton County voters were in a generous mood on Tuesday, voting in favor of a referendum that authorizes the county to levy a meals tax.

Assuming the county’s Board of Supervisors enacts an ordinance for the tax, it will generate between $150,000 and $160,000 for financing, constructing and maintaining county buildings, including schools.

The referendum’s passage is good news for two reasons.

First, the meals tax will help the county diversify its sources of revenue and rely less on property taxes, which at 72 cents per $100 of assessed value is already much higher than the state median average of 57 cents.

Second, passage by Southampton voters helps level the playing field. Most neighboring localities have been collecting the taxes for years, and Southampton residents have been paying a portion of them whenever they dine in those localities.

No one likes paying taxes, but the people of Southampton recognized that this one was good for the county and voted for it, even in these hard economic times. It shows that they are forward thinking, have trust in their leadership, and are optimistic about the future.