Charlotte City Council Approves Tax Increase

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --– The Charlotte City Council voted 8-3 Tuesday to approve a 4% tax hike for rental cars as part of a proposed financial plan to pay for new museums and theaters.

The Charlotte Observer reported that the tax increase would cover more than half of the $150.5 million price tag of five new uptown buildings including a theater, a renovated science center, two art museums and an Afro-American Cultural Center.

The current rental tax now sits at 11%. But if the 4% tax increase is approved by the state legislature next year, the new tax would bring in an extra $80.7 million for the project.

Wachovia Corp. could potentially have $300 million in construction projects that would add $41 million in property taxes to the arts project, the Charlotte Observer reported. But Wachovia Corp.'s decision to expand construction from the current project relied heavily on the outcome of the vote. Without the arts project, the bank would only build $100 million worth of new buildings.

Though some council members had reservations about the car-rental tax proposal, they voted for the tax hike simply to keep the package alive, according to the newspaper report.

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory vetoed the decision with a smaller arts package in mind. But after rejecting the mayor's new proposal by a vote of 9-2, the council is expected to overrule his veto on Aug. 22. It needs seven votes to do so.

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