Richland County Penny Tax Passes Despite Election Chaos

12:00 AM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - In the midst of all the election chaos, the Richland County proposed Penny Sales Tax passed Wednesday night.

"We have to make these roads safer and I think this penny will do that," said Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington.

After years of trying to create a way to fund key projects in Washington says this year they took a different approach.

"Well I think this time we did a better job at educating," said Washington.

That education turned into a convincing victory for the Penny Sales Tax Increase.

It comes in two parts- the first one allowing the county to bond out 450 Million dollars.

"That doesn't mean from January 1 we do 450, but what it means is we can do bus shelters immediately to give to those who ride the bus."

The next part is adding one penny to the county sales tax.

"40% of the penny will come from people that don't live in the area. Those people who go to our restaurants, our bars they will pay for the penny as well." 

The penny also brings the CMRTA back to full strength.

"If you have a sporadic bus system they can't have a decent job. There are people who lost their jobs because of the cut backs and that's the thing that really drives me for getting this penny."

With the penny increase it will also revamp county roads.

"We have over 200 miles of dirt roads in this county and this penny is going to add 45 million dollars right away to that road network."

The county can start bond anticipation notes on January 1, 2013. The actuall penny tax will go into affect April of next year.


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