Post Tagged with: "tax increases"

It’s Tax Time Again

April 24, 2016 11:10 AM
It’s Tax Time Again

Spring means many things, but to local governments it means tax time, or consideration of whether to raise taxes or not.

One year after Horry County Council passed the largest tax increase in county history, the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are looking to follow suit.

Both city councils are considering a property tax increase and increases in other fees that could significantly impact citizens and businesses.

To be fair, some of the reasons for the tax increase can be directly attributed to the General Assembly. This can be thought of as an indirect tax on citizens from Columbia.

Two areas come to mind quickly, the refusal of the General Assembly to fully fund the Local Government Fund and the need to make up billions of dollars of shortfall in the public pension funds.

The Local Government Fund is a return of state taxes, which is supposed to reimburse local governments for expenditures on state mandated agencies included in local budgets. The General Assembly, however, prefers to pass annual exemptions in order to underfund this return of tax dollars to local communities.

In this way, the General Assembly can appear to be holding the line on taxes while blaming the local governments for tax increases. Never mind that the state laws requiring these agencies came from the same body that refuses to live up to its mandated level to fund them.

The General Assembly is looking to increase the percentage local governments must contribute, per employee, for all employees included in the various state pension plans. This increase would take the local agency contributions from the current 8.16% of an employee’s annual salary to 11.5% of that salary.

I would submit the increase is needed because the General Assembly has refused to perform its fiduciary oversight responsibilities of the SC Retirement System Investment Commission.

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Horry County Council Wastes Excess Ride II Funds

November 10, 2015 4:30 AM
Horry County Council Wastes Excess Ride II Funds

Tonight, Horry County Council will consider second reading and public review of an ordinance to use leftover Ride II funds for public safety radios.

That’s correct. In 2006, county council asked voters to tax themselves an extra penny on purchases in order to build or improve roads in the county.

Now that funds are leftover, council is trying to make up for years of ill-considered decisions about radios for the public safety division.

There doesn’t seem to be one budget year that goes by without millions of dollars of requests for new radios and supporting equipment.

Next year, Motorola, the manufacturer the county has used for a number of years, will stop supporting the radio system currently used by the county, causing the latest funding crisis.

State law allows capital projects sales tax excess funds to go into the county’s general fund to be spent as council decides.

However, we live in a county that just raised the road maintenance tax by 67% a few months ago. This will add approximately $3 million dollars per year to road maintenance and dirt road paving.

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