About twenty-five years ago, I was a young girl attending Carrboro Elementary and listened to my dad record a PSA in support of funding for our schools on this radio station. I never would have guessed that twenty-five years later, I would be doing something similar. However, I want to tell you about an opportunity that will not only increase funding for our schools, but create a working future for our children in Orange County.

This fall, Orange County voters – from Carrboro to Calvander, from Efland to Eno – will have an opportunity to support an effort that can help shape our county’s future. On November 8th or during Early Voting (which is less than two weeks away), I hope that you will support a quarter-cent sales tax to raise $2.5 million in revenue per year for the next ten years, with 50% going towards capital needs for schools and 50% going towards economic development. You might ask why in this economic climate, we are talking about taxes. But don’t confuse this with the tax debate in Washington, or even in Raleigh.

This proposed tax is not on gas, prescription drugs, utilities or groceries and is the equivalent of a penny on a $4 purchase, or a quarter on a $100 purchase. It will allow Orange County to collect revenue from visitors and commuters alike, in addition to helping minimize the continual pressure to raise property taxes. This is a potential revenue source that won’t go to the state, won’t go to the feds, but will help strengthen our schools and create more jobs locally.

I hope that you will join me in supporting the quarter-cent to support our schools. With this revenue, we can update our older schools – schools that I attended twenty-five years ago – and improve technology in the classroom. We’ve come a long way from when I was working at an Apple IIc.

I hope that you will join me in supporting the quarter-cent to help create a working future for our children. With this revenue, we can work to retain and recruit employers in Orange County. We’ve had three economic development districts since I was at Carrboro Elementary – and with this revenue, we can make sure that these districts have the infrastructure they need to recruit employers – employers that we’re losing to neighboring counties.

We have lost money – over six million dollars – from the state and this is an opportunity for us to keep local control and to raise revenue that benefits ALL residents of Orange County, including in every municipality.

My name is Kristen Smith and I’m an Orange County native and a graduate of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. I’m very lucky to work in my hometown and I know that I want our community’s children to have the same opportunity.

Join me on November 8th or during Early Voting which began October 20th (voting’s the only thing I’ve done early in my life), in voting “FOR” the quarter-cent to help Orange County retain and create jobs and strengthen our schools.