What We Learned In 2009
We’ve learned that the Republican dominated South Carolina Legislature is not interested in abiding by the Constitution of this State.
Senator Larry Martin refused Conservatives of the Upstate an appointment with Attorney General McMaster to discuss several illegalities in the Lease/ Purchase agreement that allowed the Pickens County School Board to obligate county residents to almost $400 million in new & remodeled school buildings. This financing agreement has effectively mortgaged the entire taxable property in the county for the next 30 years. Our assertion that this agreement is an operating expense rather than a mortgage agreement was correct. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled so in July 2009. It has been reported that Sen. Martin is trying to rewrite the law in order to keep the General Assembly from living up to their responsibilities of providing education to all in this state (Article 11, Section 3 of SC Constitution). In every case, Sen. Martin has tried to put the burden of the schools on the property owners; thus contributing to the foreclosure mess in Pickens County. Additionally, Law 388 that was supposed to be a tax swap was made possible by the reassessment of property through state statutory law. Instead of an even swap, this created a 500% increase in property taxes - made possible by property reassessment.
The Conservatives of the Upstate will address the County Delegation - outlining the illegalities & violations of the South Carolina Constitution and statutory laws of this state.
Please attend this very important meeting if at all possible on January 11, 2010 at 5:30PM at Six Mile Baptist Church located at 149 N. Main St, Six Mile SC, 29682. Let the politicians that are supposed to be serving the people of Pickens & Oconee County will see that we are genuinely concerned and want something done about our state government.
Here’s a history of the sales tax that some call the “fair” tax: 3% was put on by referendum in 1951 for the sole purpose of building schools, then another 1% for the children, then another 1%, then another 1% sales tax swap. At 6% State tax - the Pickens County Council added another 1%. Then municipalities added 2% on prepared foods called a “hospitality tax”. 9% STILL isn’t enough to fund government. Can you imagine what would happen if you gave the federal government the authority to levy “fair taxes”.
The State Constitution says that there can be no taxation without representation.
Tell us, who represents the people in one county that go into another county to buy things? Who represents you when a person of a county pays sales taxes for recreation facilities in the city, and then has to pay a membership fee different than the city resident for his child to participate even though they paid sales taxes in that city. Our State government knows they are breaking the law and violating the constitution, so that is why they funnel the money through the State so that it appears your elected delegation qualifies as the elected representative. Local council members cannot tax someone outside of their elected jurisdiction.
Now that we’ve talked about sales taxes, let’s talk about the school construction (the lease/purchase in Greenville & Pickens Counties). The dummy corporation in each county owns all the old schools and now the new ones . An unelected board determines the millage that is required to make the 1/30th payments each year. Unelected officials CAN NOT levy taxes. The Auditor and Treasurer of the county are “ministerial” in duty in that they determine and collect millage only to the extent of its quantity as set by duly, elected and seated officials. They cannot determine that indebtedness is legal. Once again this is taxation without representation. Your vote was stolen from you.
On top of all this the School Board and County Council have over collected about $60 million dollars by under estimating the value of a mill. They have taken money from the people in Oconee & Pickens Counties that was supposed to be refunded because Duke Power had underpaid in previous years. This was just another $30 something million dollars.
What have we gotten from all this money and deception? We have gotten lower test scores on the graduate exam, lower SAT scores, the same number or more of drop outs, and 750 homeless students.. For this we have spent $400 million more dollars for school construction. At the County level we have gotten roads that have grossly low shoulders, an ordinance that steals road frontage from property that we have paid for, azaleas on the streets in a city using county funds, a baseball tournament that the national level office didn’t even see fit to permanently establish in Easley, and proposal for a local stimulus when the people were generally against the one in Washington among other things too numerous to name here. We have fees for facilities we have already paid for, our children forbidden to use facilities that we paid for, and water and power lines across the middle of our property.
Why have we gotten poor results? We pay the schools to do worse. For example, we pay teachers twice as much as the people who support them. They have far better fringe benefits and raises every year. Yet we get poorer results. Why should they get any better? They won’t as long as there is no accountability. Do our students know how to calculate property taxes, do they know who their elected representatives are? Do they know who Saul Alinsky is? Piven and Clower? How many times did Senator Martin & Senator Alexander not support the Governor on conservative matters. Do the people know that the 50 bond mills on their tax bill were ruled a state responsibility in July, yet our county government did not take them off their bill. Why has their been no reassessment of property, this past year as required by law – because the reassessment would result in LOWER values due to the downturn in housing and the economy – that’s why.