Perspective: WIS editorial on proposed Richland sales tax hike

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There is never a good time to raise taxes.  And with high unemployment in South Carolina, this is not a great time for Richland County to be asking voters to approve a transportation tax on the November 2nd ballot.

The tax would add one cent to the local sales tax for every dollar spent.  The money raised would go for transportation improvements including: improving roads, building bike lanes and sidewalks, and keeping our local bus system running past 2011. The need for the funding is clear. Richland County has grown, and poor planning has led to traffic congestion, bad roads, and a threat to the future of our public transit system.

Four years ago, a series of public hearings and the Transportation Study Commission reported that county residents favored major improvements in local transportation, but the economy was healthier in 2006 than it is today. Citizens for a Better Midlands supports the extra penny tax and claims that one-third of the taxes would be paid by non-Richland County residents which would at least spread the pain around.

It's not a great solution to the county's problems, but raising the sales tax is an alternative to other more unpopular moves like raising property taxes and vehicle taxes. And it could help bring new business and industry to our area.  I urge Richland county voters to say yes to the local option sales tax ballot referendum on Nov. 2.  That's my perspective.  What's yours?

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