Recently, the leader, Robin Nelson Miller, of the political action group masquerading by the name Concerned Citizens Of Pickens County posted another vitriolic attack of Conservatives Of The Upstate on their facebook page ...
As usual, her post was devoid of facts and full of misdirection. She defended CCPC "business partner" Tom O' Hanlan's use of special requested tax reductions while advocating taxes be raised on all other businesses that DON'T get such credits ...
Miller never said we were not correct. The facts are; Mr. O'Hanlan has avoided part of his taxes by paying fees, and maybe $7,000 dollars isn't much to Ms. Miller, but it is almost one quarter of a new teacher's yearly salary. I congratulate Mr. O'Hanlan on being a rich man and paying his fees. That was not the issue. The issue was that he took a position that he favored the citizens of Pickens County paying more TAXES not FEES and if he had 10 other properties, he avoided the taxes on the one we printed. When he favors Pickens people paying more taxes, he avoids the issue of Article 11 Section 3 of the SC Constitution where the State is responsible for education; not the counties. He avoids the fact that the School Board refuses to refund the money they have over-collected from the citizens by violating SC Law12-43-285(probably between $45 and &100 million). He just simply forgets that the School Board is trying to refinance revenue bonds that they do not own. They spent interest that was not theirs; maybe $55 million.
The children have the best buildings in the state, they have the best athletic facilities, they have technology, but instead of all the former; they should have invested more in up to date things that move with Technology. Technology is moving so fast by the time you get it installed; it is obsolete. They should have gotten off Common Core which is a poor excuse for an educational standard. It is part of the liberal, progressive take over of this country.
I pity Mrs. Miller because she will not read the law (we are a democratic republic who voluntarily obey the laws). The politicians of this land take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend both constitutions, not find every way to subvert them.
Yes, I am an older man who loves this country; the USA. One who admires the technology that causes us to pay our taxes, and love our children. I am not going to cow tow to a group of folks that want to do something whether it is legal or not.
Sealevel Systems pays a reduced tax called a "fee in lieu of taxes" ...
Total taxes paid: $10,097
Total bill if they were NOT getting this tax break: $17,430
Roughly 58% of business taxes in Pickens County goes to the schools.
According to Pickens County Auditor, Brent Suddeth Sealevel's School taxes would be broken down thusly:
School Bonds $2281.90
(out of their $10,097 paid)
If Sealevel weren't paying this fee in lieu of taxes, their total tax bill would be:
This would bring in an additional $4,250+ of revenue DIRECTLY to the school district if Tom O'Hanlan were doing with his multimillion dollar business what he's asking the average below poverty line citizen in Pickens County to do.
Regarding recent posts made in The Greenville News ...
No summary of recent meetings or editorial has said a word about the Conservatives of the Upstate contesting the legality of such action.
Article 11 Section 3 of the SC Constitution specifically says that the state is responsible for funding schools for the children. They have collected the lottery and added 5% in sales taxes over the years for educational purposes, and each time the Legislature has put the money in the general fund and spent large amounts of it on other things.
The people of Pickens County are not responsible for funding education or paying for the buildings. Had the money they taxed us for and the lottery been put into education, there would be schools on every corner and the teachers could make $100,000 each. Bu,t by statutory law and plucking at the citizens "chudrun" strings, they have pushed the responsibility to the counties. If the school board needs to fight, it is not with our poor citizens who make less than an average of $24,000 a year (reported by Appalachian Council of Governments), while the teachers make an average of $48,000 (report same). If you take the current teachers salaries out of the average, the people make less than $17,000.
Most workers in Pickens County often have to have 2 jobs just to make ends meet. The info that has been given about the teacher raises is fictitious. Teachers have received multiple cost of living increases and can EASILY gain raises through enrichment and certifications, while many have seen decreases in the wage because of inflation.
Now let me cover the refinancing of the Revenue Bonds that are owned by SCAGO. The School Board DOES NOT own the bonds, they cannot own the bonds by law, they cannot pay the refinancing fee because that would prove ownership of the bonds which they cannot own. In my opinion, SCAGO is the only entity that can refinance and they must pay the refinancing fee. This school board has over-collected taxes and failed to refund as required by law. They have spent the interest on the bonds that did not belong to them. If you say that they were entitled to the interest, then they have exceeded the 8% constitutional law.
When this debacle first came into being, it was improperly set up in the wrong accounts in the treasurers office, I have not been able to find out who told the treasure to mingle the taxes paid on the SCAGO Bonds and the General Obligation debt which carries the full faith and power of the School Board and the revenue bonds which do not. This is costing the Pickens County citizens $391,000,000 over 25+ years. It also is against the law because Pickens County has broken the 8% collection rule.
Some folks out there do not understand why I oppose the refinancing of the revenue bonds that are purchased by the "dummy" corporation called SCAGO to build all the new school buildings. It is simple. In my opinion it is against the law and wrong to saddle our great grand children with the debt made by this generation. I keep hearing how we need to do this for the "chudrun", but raising our taxes, lengthening the period of the debt which raises our taxes, paying some bond seller a huge fee to refinance a loan that does not even belong to the School Board of Pickens County and raises the amount of the loan does not seem like good business. In fact it sounds like someone is trying to pull a fast one.
First, these bonds belong to SCAGO not the School Board. Second, they are revenue bonds which does not guarantee their repayment by the Board which usually means a higher interest rate not lower, unless someone is trying to peddle them as general obligation debt which is definitely unconstitutional. Third, it would erase a lot of the record of what has happened in the past.
I have discussed this issue with a former school board chairman and he tells me that all finance matters must be discussed in open meetings. The citizens of Pickens county have not heard from the Lawyer who says that all this is legal and why. They have not been allowed to say whether they favor this type of longevity for future children. We have not heard from the Board as to whether all the projects are needed.