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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Will residents respond to 'voluntary tax' for schools?

Friday, August 23, 2013

For all of those county residents who have said they would not mind paying more in taxes if the money went into the school system, the opportunity may be coming soon. Well, not that anyone will pay more in taxes, it's more of a "voluntary tax."

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors is considering including with this year's tax tickets, which go out in November, an option for taxpayers to also send in money that would go directly to the school system. Everyone still has to pay their real estate and personal property taxes in full. This is simply a way to give money directly to the schools above and beyond the tax payments.

Whether it's $5 or $5,000, a taxpayer can simply write a check to the county treasurer, note on the check it's for the school system, and that money will receive a code that puts it in a coffer for schools. If the plan is initiated in time for this year's tax payments, all the money that is donated will be given to the school system in February 2014. The school board can basically then spend it as it sees fit.

Supervisors discussed the proposal, first introduced by Blackwater District Supervisor Cline Brubaker earlier this year, at their Tuesday meeting, going over the details in a way that would indicate they fully support the idea. They took no action, but no objections were made. Other municipalities do this, and it has varying degrees of success. But still a relatively small amount of money is collected.

If the option is available come tax time, it certainly will be interesting to see how many donors come forward. Some supervisors are not optimistic that it will be worth the time and $1,200 year expense of including the option. History is on their side. Most voluntary tax situations don't fare well.

At any rate, we do encourage the board to at least try it. People may respond and give everyone, especially the school system, a pleasant surprise.

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