News 12 First at Five / Monday, November 9, 2015
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- Aiken County's penny sales tax is here to stay for the next 10 years.
The new tax changes three things for a property owner in Aiken County: Their sales tax is higher, their property tax is lower, and the county's school system is being renovated.
90% percent of the money collected goes to improving schools, while the other 10% goes to property tax relief. Steve Ranzer deals with home buyers every day as a real estate broker, he doesn't think that small bit of savings will be a factor. "While it's a nice gesture, it's a nice token, I don't think that it will make a significant difference to the home buyer," he says.
Since it's a new tax, this year it was only collected for one quarter. It amounts to less than 1% savings on your property taxes. "I think it's nice, I think it was used to help pass the bill so that the tax could then be applied, but I think the real advantage is to the schools," says Ranzer.
Improvements to the county's schools have already started. Ranzer thinks a better county school system is more likely to draw people to Aiken County. He says, "The schools were in need of improvement, and I'm glad that the money is there to help them. I think that is the main advantage of it."
The property tax savings is so small, almost everyone will spend more on the penny sales tax than they recoup on their property taxes. Still, Aiken's sales tax rate is comparable to the rest of the CSRA. Ranzer says, "No difference, so I don't think that would be a factor that would make a difference in someone moving here as opposed to Columbia County, lets say."
If you already own your home, your tax bill is a little smaller this year, and will be even smaller next year after the tax is in effect for a year. You're not likely to save more than $100 any year, because the savings are divided among each property owner.
When you crunch the numbers, the school improvements amount to far more than the tax relief.