Taxpayer Group Supports SC Tax Shift

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December 19, 2005
Those in favor say you’ll pay fewer taxes. Opponents say it will hurt South Carolina’s schools. On Monday, an Aiken County group announced they support a plan to change how you pay taxes. News 12 is on your side with what this change could mean to you.

Christmas shopping could get more expensive in South Carolina. State lawmakers are working on a plan to cut property taxes in half. The catch? Sales taxes would increase two percent, costing South Carolinians an extra $200-$3,000 more at the stores.

The idea appeals to many of Aiken’s retirees on a fixed income, like Mary Ann Rogers.

“Then everybody will be paying the same kind of tax,” Mary Ann Rogers said.

The Aiken County Tax Payers Association announced they support the idea. Vicki Simons leads the group.

“People are concerned about not being able to pay for their property taxes. They could be literally forced out of their homes through an inability to pay,” Simons said.

But many educators don’t like the shift.

“We’ve got a lot of concerns about it,” said Brock Heron.

Brock Heron is the Aiken County School District Comptroller. His problem: Property taxes are stable, sales taxes aren’t.

“A downturn in the economy could actually hurt the sales and we wouldn’t receive as much income,” Heron said.

But Simons believes we can count on sales taxes.

“Retail sales had increased pretty steadily over the last ten years,” Simons said.

Some worry a higher sales tax might send shoppers in Aiken County right across the border to Georgia, but the increase may not make such a difference. We’re only talking about a penny. The sales tax would be 8 cents in South Carolina, and it’s already 7 cents Augusta.

The details of this tax shift are still being debated. But expect to hear more, it’s being called the King Kong issue of the 2006 legislature.

Click here for a more detailed breakdown of the Aiken County Taxpayer Association’s opinions on the tax shift.