Amendment 4: Position of

This amendment will stop the huge reassessments and property tax increases by Counties that will occur again in the next few years under state law unless the amendment passes.  With the amendment, assessments will never again exceed a 15% increase over a 5-year period unless the property is sold or substantially remodeled.

The chairman of wrote the following letter about the proposed amendment:

Recent reports in the media, including an article by The Post and Courier's David Slade and a Post & Courier Editorial, have included inaccurate claims about Amendment #4. This is the amendment that will provide a 15% cap on property tax assessments.

First, there is the claim the cap would benefit primarily the wealthy. Not true. The tax cap will benefit every property owner, and since 90.5% of South Carolina's resident homeowners make less than $100,000 a year, this allegation is mathematically impossible.

Second, there is the claim that there will be a tax shift associated with the Amendment's passage. Again, not true, as every property owners tax bill will drop an average of 50% in 2007, and the new property tax reform laws provide a millage cap that corresponds to the Southeastern Consumer Price Index increase.

Third, there is the claim that a county's inability to increase assessments on desirable property would result in increased taxes for properties in less desirable areas. How could this happen? Are opponents to Amendment #4 insinuating that the counties will increase assessments more than they should on the less desirable properties? Or that the current system overtaxed the desirable properties on purpose, in order to keep taxes lower in specific areas? Either scenario would be illegal and unconstitutional.

Amendment #4 is a part of a broad property tax reform package that the grassroots coalition worked to pass in 2006. And as a result of these new laws, the average South Carolinian will see their property taxes drop approximately 50% in 2007. Amendment #4 will help protect these new laws. Please consider this: Not even the opponents of Amendment #4 have claimed the amendment will cause anyone to lose their home. Without it, however, being "taxed out of their home" is a real possibility for tens of thousands of families.

Emerson Read