If you push your car a mile down the road, it’s still a car. Despite the marketing spin, extending the current 1% sales tax is still another tax increase.
The current 1% tax increase which was voted on and approved in 2004’s ballot referendum as a “temporary” tax began in 2005 and does not expire until 2024. The list of projects the current tax was earmarked for is complete and now they want to expand the scope of their original tax. If voters choose NO we will certainly see it again on the 2024 ballot. Voting NO means the County isn’t able to put additional projects to the original list from 2004. What we have not seen is the County’s plan to fund transportation improvements beyond continually asking for tax increases.
Options Besides More Taxes
If there’s no tax, how will we improve our roads? Push the burden of expanding road capacity on those who are the CAUSE of that need through imposing a mandatory Transportation Impact Fee for all new development. Residents of Dorchester County already pay property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, and more which are and have been used to build and maintain our roads. We’re already paying our dues while out of state developers contribute little to nothing to fix the problems THEY are creating.
Your current District 7 councilman, Jay Byars, and County Council oppose Transportation Impact Fees because they say developers will pass that fee on to the consumer. Certainly some of them will, but not all of them.
Commercial developers can easily add this to their cost of doing business expenses. If they have the funding to expand into Dorchester County, then they can afford a few more bucks to help improve the roadways they wish to use once they get here. Commercial vehicles place a large toll on our roads and they certainly should help fund improvements and maintenance.
Residential developers can either absorb the fee or spread some that cost across all homes they sell. There’s already utility connection fees and a transportation impact fee is really no different.
Who Opposes the 1% Tax Increase?
The Republican party in Dorchester County opposes the 1% tax increase referendum in a rare display of bipartisan agreement. 7 out of 7 County Council members are Republicans. This speaks volumes. Their own party opposes their plans.
It seems odd to me that county Democrats support Republican plans, but hey, that’s politics for you. This is why I am an INDEPENDENT candidate, because money and politics make for strange bedfellows. But if you look at the names and occupations of those who support the tax increase, you will find there’s a decent percentage of developer-friendly industries represented, the very people and businesses who will benefit and profit from continuing to take more money out of your pockets and mine.
Until I can see a plan to end it once and for all, I cannot support extending a tax increase. It will be there for two more years, which is enough time to come up with a better long term solution than kicking the can down the road while continuing to place the burden on current residents during a global recession and record inflation.
Vote for change. Once on County Council I vow to push for mandatory developer transportation impact fees and create a plan to keep past promises that the 1% tax increase is only temporary and not constantly renewed.