State Supreme Court rejects Michael Letts' penny tax challenge

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The State Supreme Court rejected a challenge against Richland County's penny sales tax referendum, clearing the way for the Central Midlands Regional Transportation Authority to begin bus service improvements.

That challenge came from Michael Letts, the leader of Citizens Against the Tax Increase, a group that was opposed to the referendum.

Letts has maintained that long lines, lack of proper working poll booths, and few available election workers led to widespread disenfranchisement during the November election.

Richland County voters agreed with a 1 cent sales tax increase in order to fund transportation projects and the Midlands bus system.

Letts let his disappointment be known in a statement released after the ruling, saying that no one is being held accountable for the election.

"Nothing has changed," said Letts. "The Election Commission director still has pretty much the same job at about the same salary. We'll never know why the commission ignored the requests of poll workers who asked for more voting machines. We'll never know the real reason the Richland delegation chairman replaced the former elections director with a much less experienced one."

In the meantime, the ruling allows the CMRTA to move forward and restore cuts to the service. The authority had planned to restore some routes back in January, but the now-closed litigation prevented that from happening.

The county will begin collecting the extra penny on May 1, 2013.

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