NORTH CAROLINA -

North Carolina counties would be limited in the sales taxes they could charge in a bill that's surfaced in the Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee voted Wednesday for a measure that would cap local sales and use taxes a county can collect at 2.5 percent of the price of a good or service. That would mean the combined state and local sales tax would be limited to 7.25 percent, with exceptions for Durham and Orange counties, which are currently at 7.5 percent.

The combined tax is 6.75 percent in more than 70 of North Carolina's 100 counties. The rest have approved higher rates through voter referenda.

The measure would appear to block a Mecklenburg County referendum this November for an additional quarter-cent because the combined rate is already 7.25 percent.