Whenever a sales tax increase is proposed, it seems like the Chamber of Commerce and related groups hire lobbyists and launch a slick advertising campaign to push for the tax increase, presumably so their friends can get big government contracts.
Charleston County already has an 8.5% sales tax rate, the highest in the state.
This time around, the special interest groups formed a non-profit called Charleston County Voters for Transportation, Inc., headed up by former Berkeley County Supervisor and SC Highway Commissioner Jim Rozier. The group has a campaign called “Complete the Penny”, urging County Council to put a referendum on the ballot to increase our local sales tax to 9%.
The preliminary project list for this proposed sales tax increase includes no funding for the completion of I-526 and more than $600 Million for mass transit. Included in the mass transit budget is more than $250 Million in local matching funds for federal grants. Shouldn’t that money be in the regular budget if it is already obligated?
Charleston County Council has to approve the sales tax increase wording and submit it to the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration by Aug. 15 to put the measure before the voters on the Nov. 8 ballot.