Tuesday, September 10, 2013
To the people of Dorchester County: If you believe that the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) that you will be voting on this November is a tax shift (which is what the County Council wants you to believe), you need the other side of the story. First of all, if it’s just a tax shift … why do it? Why spend the money to put it on the ballot, campaign for it, implement it, collect it and distribute it? (Didn’t you just vote yourself very large tax increases for schools and the “Y”?) Why don’t they just admit that it’s a tax increase?
The Council insists that most of the taxes will be applied to lowering the property taxes on your home. What they don’t explain is that they will collect a lot more in sales taxes from you than what you will save on your property taxes. And, people who RENT their homes won’t benefit at all – all they will get are the additional taxes!
Here’s a simple way to look at it. On a $100,000 home, LOST will save you a whopping $50 per year in property taxes (according to J.J. Messervy, the county auditor). The increase in your grocery bill alone, considering you spend $150 per week on groceries, would be $78. Already, you are in the hole. The rest of everything you buy in a year would get the additional 1 percent tacked on. Let’s say you go out to dinner once a week and spend $50 per week – that’s $26 per year in additional tax. Let’s say you put in a new hardwood flooring system that is going to cost you $7,000 – that’s an additional $70 in tax. Need a new riding lawn mower– that’s an additional $15 in tax. Need a new $20,000 roof? – that’s $20 in additional tax (for the materials). Let’s review: You will receive $50 off your home taxes and pay an additional $209 in LOST sale taxes in addition to the 7 percent in sales tax you already pay! (And that’s just some examples. You would pay the additional 1 percent on everything you buy in Dorchester County.)
This tax is not a tax shift but, because they often conspire with the local media, the County Council and the Chamber of Commerce can spin it any way they want. They want you to believe it is a tax shift. … Be smarter than they are and know it is not. … It’s a big tax increase (or they wouldn’t do it in the first place)!
Sue E. Braund