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Friday, April 4, 2014

SC State Lawmakers Proposing 1¢ EXTRA Sales Tax

In case you didn’t feel taxed enough, some lawmakers in South Carolina are asking to be able to add a sales tax to pay for school construction projects.

Hold on. I thought SC had a Republican majority? Don’t they want to advance bills that would eliminate Obamacare, Common Core, abortion and reduce the size of government?

Well, not really. The most important thing for the majority of Republicans in this state to do is find ways to tax the middle class for their pet projects.

According to theState, the Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill Tuesday, sponsored by state Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, that would allow school districts in all of the state’s 46 counties to ask voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax for building projects.

Currently only two counties – Horry and Charleston – now collect the 1-cent-on-the-dollar tax (cleverly called a “penny” tax). The tax can be imposed for no more than 15 years before voters must be asked to re-authorize it (yeah right).

Under the current law, in which a county where a  school district operates must raise $7 million in accommodations taxes, imposed on vacation and other temporary rental properties, before it can ask voters to approve the sales tax for education, causes a disadvantage to counties that don’t have tourist attractions. Peeler said an advantage is given to school districts in Charleston and Horry counties.

“I wanted Cherokee County to be able to enjoy what Charleston and Horry counties have been enjoying for years,” said Peeler, the Senate’s majority leader. “We don’t have a beach. We don’t have an ocean. We do have a ‘Yellow Mall,’” he said, referring to the name locals use for Gaffney’s outlet mall.

The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill on Tuesday. But a fellow Republican, Sen. Kevin Bryant of Anderson, objected to the bill, making its road to passage tougher.

Bryant said the people who will benefit from the additional sales tax will push it, while “the poor fellow trying to find a couple of extra pennies in his pocket is at an unfair advantage. That’s why I’m against all these tax increases.”

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