Sales-tax hike supporters have big fundraising advantage

Supporters of the referendum to raise Buncombe County’s sales-tax by a quarter-cent to fund capital improvements at A-B Tech have a huge fundraising advantage going into the campaign’s final days.

According to the latest financial disclosure reports released Oct. 31 by the Buncombe County Board of Elections, the referendum committee that formed to support the measure – Join Our Buncombe Solutions (JOBS) – has raised a total of $140,475.40. That sum overwhelms the $2,341.20 raised by the Sales Tax Opposition Partnership (STOP), a referendum committee started by former Buncombe GOP chair Robert Malt to defeat the referendum.

The biggest contributor to JOBS was the A-B Tech Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of supporting the community college “in all of its programs and activities to ensure that quality educational opportunities are available to its students, faculty and staff,” according to its website. So far, it’s donated $75,000 to the effort. And the Student Government Association of A-B Tech chipped in $10,000.

Several local businesses have also made big donations to the committee, including AVL Technologies ($25,000), Silver Line Plastics ($5,000), Home Trust Bank ($2,000) and the Grove Park Inn ($2,000). Contributions from individual residents only accounted for $5,725 of the total.

On the other hand, almost the entire amount raised by STOP has come from individuals making small donations. The only additional donation came from the Buncombe County Republican Party, which chipped in $219. Of the $2,341.20 total, the committee still has $646.03 on hand to spend. The rest has gone toward grassroots advertising such as fliers and yard signs.

Meanwhile, JOBS reports having a total of $64,726.76 on hand to spend going forward. The committee spent $23,997.08 on the services of Burges & Burges Strategist, a Cleveland, Ohio–based political consulting and communications company. An additional $16,112.60 went to Charter Communications and $15,785.73 went to an Asheville printing and mailing service.

JOBS has also promised to cover the cost of staffing polling places around the county that wouldn’t be open Nov. 8 if not for the referendum; those costs are estimated at $80,000.

For more on this issue, read our Oct. 18 cover story, “School or scandal?”

UPDATE: The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Nov. 2 that A–B Tech said it would return the $10,000 contribution from the Student Government Association, which is funded entirely through student fees. School officials have previously promised that only private donations would be spent on the effort.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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12 thoughts on “Sales-tax hike supporters have big fundraising advantage

    • Ashevillechic

      I thought it was me not understanding something because that was the first thing I saw too TIMPECK. Are we not raising money for help @ A-B Tech? Not only did they not put anything towards A-B they have spent most of it on “mailers” and people to tell them how to. Then last but not least “The biggest contributor to JOBS was the A-B Tech Foundation” TIMPECK am I missing something because I’m not old enough to have been paying taxes(Last year was my first time) before so therefore I just don’t know what I’m talking about or this seems to be defeating the purpose to raise $ for A-B Tech by getting the largest contribution from A-B itself???? Anyone?? Signed Confused.

    • GLB

      Our overall population in Buncombe County has grown in the past ten years at a rate of 1.55% per year. Does that warrant spending $129 million in new construction on A-B Tech?

  1. ballstien

    B.S. We pay more and more taxes than we should be humanly asked to pay. Politicians are wasteful and poor shepherds of your money. Think of it …. property taxes are sky high … the state raised sales taxes years ago under the agreement to drop back to original tax rate after one year … still rising. Every time you buy gas .. groceries .. mortgage .. cigars … county taxes on your car ..

    To h e l l with more taxes… and you are a fool if you think differently

    • Barry Summers

      You are a fool if you believe the FOX/Beck/Limbaugh/fill-in-the-millionaire lies about taxes. Taxes are at historic lows, especially for the wealthy.

  2. Barry Summers

    The biggest contributor to JOBS was the A-B Tech Foundation

    I find it humorous that the smallest contributor listed on the campaign filings was Wells Fargo, with 40 cents…

    We pay more and more taxes than we should be humanly asked to pay.

    Get over yourself, and your instant belief in whatever politically-spun talking points FOXNEWS shoves in your head. Taxes are at historic lows.

  3. Rational

    This is a County sales tax pure and simple. I already voted against it. Good point above. 100K would have been helpful to AB Tech IF they really need it. If this is really for AB Tech a bond issue is the correct way to fund it. Obviously this is a scam put forth by the county to boost their funding which will go down when the current sales taxes expire. No I don’t watch Fox and I am not in the tea party. I am part of the 99%.

  4. Dionysis

    “We pay more and more taxes than we should be humanly asked to pay.”

    Really? Wonder how you’d react if you lived in any number of other developed countries? Taxes comprise 28% of GDP in the U.S., compared to an average of 36% among member the 30 countries of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Our tax rate is lower than all countries except Korea, Japan, Turkey and Mexico. Yet we get more whining and sniveling per capita than anywhere else when it comes to taxes, it seems.

  5. ironhead

    I think A-B Tech deserves support, but a sales tax is the most regressive way to go about it.

    • mcates

      No amount of money was going to prevent the Buncombe Democratic Party from disenfranchising voters in 2011.

      No amount of money was going to prevent the Buncombe Democratic Party and local media outlets from coordinating their efforts in order to deceive and manipulate citizens in 2011.

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