1-cent county sales tax for education?

Published 1:22 am Friday, June 16, 2017

County officials, school board in preliminary talks

There have been preliminary discussions between the county board of education and the county commission about imposing a new, county-wide, one-cent sales tax for education.

Greg White, commission chairman, said that the commission has been asked by the school board to consider imposing the sales tax.

“We have had a number of preliminary discussions with school board members and superintendents,” White said. “It becomes complicated because any county-generated sales tax would have to be divided among the county, Andalusia and Opp.”

White said they are currently doing research and talking to Andalusia and Opp officials to figure out what the best solution is for the entire county.

White said he didn’t want to have a situation where the sales tax would be more than 10 percent in Andalusia, if it can be helped.

At present, sales taxes on goods purchased in Andalusia are 9.5 percent (4 percent for the state; 2 percent for the county; and 3.5 percent for the city. Proceeds from the half-cent tax are designated for education.)

In Opp, the council this month added an additional one-cent sales tax, which will make the total sales taxes collected on goods sold in Opp 10 percent, effective Aug. 1. Opp currently has a one-cent sales tax designated for education, as well.

Superintendent Shannon Driver confirmed he had talked to White about the possibility of a tax, but said the board has not formally requested the additional tax.

“We’ve been talking about it for two or three years now,” Driver said. “We would need it to generate some additional revenue. There’s a very strong likelihood when you look at the federal budget for the school year after the upcoming one that there are significant cuts to funding for education. If that happens, we fund a lot of teaching units through federal dollars. If that comes down the pipe, we are going to be hit hard.”