Dorchester County gets to vote on a tax referendum on November 5, and one that proponents claim will benefit all residents.
Although a very wide spectrum of citizens – Democrats and conservatives alike – argue against the proposal, its supporters on County Council haven’t given up on its promotion, however.
If anyone still needs a reason to vote against the referendum, though, County Council itself gives you three, and from the three instances in which its story on this tax has changed:
1) County Council’s proponents of this referendum originally said the sales tax increase wouldn’t apply to food items, then later admitted that it would.
2) The ballot reads that the tax is “for the purpose of funding county and municipal operations(.)” However, County Council has repeatedly said it will only use the revenue as credit against property tax. Thus, it won’t fund anything, even though that’s what the ballots will tell voters on November 5.
3) County Council has consistently stated that the lower property tax will help the county attract new businesses. However, the county auditor stated at a public forum that the commercial property tax is complex, is not calculated as a percentile of property value alone, and will provide very little, if any, tax relief on businesses in Dorchester County.
If these three blatant twists and story-changes aren’t enough, then consider this: unless you own very high-value property in the county, the total amount you pay in sales taxes will surpass the amount you save in property taxes. You’ll only wind up paying more money to the government, and won’t be getting anything in return.
And if you’re any of the 27 percent of county residents who rent, you’ll end up holding an even shorter end of the stick.
The five council members who support the referendum (Bill Hearn, Jay Byars, David Chinnis, Carroll Duncan and George Bailey) may be Republican, but even the county GOP is against it. In fact, “Dorchester County Republican Party opposes” the proposal, it formally stated in a resolution.
So why do those County Council members support it? Well, they would be among the few high-value homeowners who’d benefit from it personally, apparently, and two could even profit from the passed referendum in their lines of work (Hearn’s a real estate attorney, Byars is a mortgage broker).
Even worse, they’re doing a poor (and even unprofessional) job of promoting their argument.
At an October 29 forum at Woodland High School, for example, councilman George Bailey exploded at a member of the county GOP’s executive committee who told of the party’s resolution against the tax.
“You are out of your ever-lovin’ mind!” Bailey shouted, towering over the seated gentleman while wagging a finger inches from his face.
The off-year election for this tax proposal is only six days away. Instead of allowing those twists and changes to hit you in the wallet, please get out and hit the “NO” button instead.
Hold on to those twists for the next election cycle, too, and use them as the basis to vote its supporting council members out of office. Elect new council who’ll tell you the truth up front – and who won’t behave like children when you disagree with them.