Penny Sales Tax On November Ballot?

11:27 PM, Jun 13, 2012   |    comments
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Richland County, SC (WLTX) -- Council members met with the transportation committee to hear recommendations on the penny tax.

While there was no vote this evening, one could be coming very soon. A vote that would put the decision to add a penny sales tax in the hands of Richland County residents.

Tonight the Richland County council members appear to be leaning towards a 20-year penny tax. One that would bring in nearly 1 billion dollars in for the county.

What would that go towards? Specifically a comprehensive transportation plan. That includes road maintenance, paving, and supporting the struggling CMRTA bus system.

While a similar tax on the 2010 ballot failed, County Councilman Kelvin Washington believes this time around there will be more transparency for voters to make a decision in it's favor.

"We are going to show the actual projects, we are going to list them," said Washington. "The conversations we are having are we going to have them at the precincts or are we going to have them or are we going to have a community outreach to show those projects but we are going to do a better job at showcasing these projects."

Money from the penny tax would also be used to fund and help stabilize the bus system, averaging out to around 11 million additional dollars every year. CMRTA Director Bob Schneider says this is the shot in the arm the system needs.

"It would really allow us to grow with the community, and as the community expands, changes, and re-directs new areas, it would give us the flexibility to provide new services and really be flexible in the types of programs we can offer."

Tuesday, the penny tax will have a public hearing and it's second reading. It needs to pass three readings before it can be added to the November ballot.





























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