Some members of the Greenville County council are misleading residents on the proposed 1% sales tax increase. If the council members vote to put the tax increase on the ballot in 2014, the odds are it will pass like it has in other counties. They claim that the $65 million tax increase will be used for road maintenance repair. This is false.
Road maintenance is needed in Greenville County, but the simple truth is that we already pay taxes to repair both state and county roads. We pay $15 for county road maintenance when we register our vehicles and pay for state road repair when we fill up our gas tanks.
A Department of Transportation official this week said, “We have the money to repair roads in Greenville County. They are essentially raising the 1% tax to raise the match of federal money. This has nothing to do with filling pot holes; this is for new projects.”
No one is against new projects in Greenville County, but the question remains: how does the county pay for it?
Now is not the time to create unnecessary new projects when so many working families are struggling, and seniors are struggling to making ends meet on fixed incomes.
Councilman Willis Meadows said, “The increased sales tax for a family of two will cost them $300 a year.”
This week Rep. Wendy Nanney said, “I am not one for increasing taxes. I have never voted for a tax increase…”
But why is her father Councilman Bob Taylor supporting a tax increase on the working poor and the middle class? Why didn’t he kill the proposed tax increase last Monday when he had the chance? At Monday’s county council meeting, Lottie Gibson, Dan Rawls, Joe Dill, Sid Cates and Willis Meadows tried to kill the proposed sales tax.
Why do we need to increase the sales tax to repair state roads when our state legislators borrowed $550 million from China this year?
The infrastructure bank is currently determining what state projects should be funded at the time of this publication.
But how much of the $550 million will Greenville County receive for these special projects?
Instead of proposing a $65 million tax increase on Greenville County residents to pay for new projects, Greenville County council should ask the infrastructure bank to fund these new projects.
Nanney said she wants to investigate where this money is going to make sure that Greenville County gets its fair share.
A DOT official this week said, “Here is the reality. Counties like Horry County and Beaufort County have learned that if they bring money to the table, they get their projects done. If they can bring 10%, for example, the odds are your projects will be approved.”
Does this mean that the infrastructure bank is holding Greenville County’s road funds hostage unless we bring money to the table?
It is apparent that Greenville County Council wants to raise taxes in order to increase federal matching for new projects.
Allowing a tax increase to go on a ballot is irresponsible. The special interests and powerful lobbyist know how to get these measures passed. They have been successful in other counties, and the odds are stacked in their favor.
The simple truth is that unless citizens of Greenville County stand up and demand that county council kill this proposed sale tax hike on Tuesday the odds are the 1% sales tax will pass if it is on the ballot next year. If passed, this tax will hurt working families, seniors on fixed income and small businesses. It’s time to demand the Greenville County council to vote to kill this proposed sales tax on Tuesday at County Square.
Please visit www.NoTaxHikeSC.com and sign the petition to stop the largest tax hike in Greenville County’s History!
By Joshua Cook
Republican Liberty caucus of Greenville