2004-12-03 / On Second Thought

Letters to the editor

Listen to Darla Moore or abolish property tax?

Two articles in The Other Paper (Tuesday, November 9, 2004) on the editorial page stated that the Palmetto Institute, headed by Darla Moore and Director Jim Fields, should decide how the citizens of SC are to be taxed based on the Institute’s input. These people are very wealthy and do not have trouble paying taxes. They will only try to fix the tax system where the wealthy and big businesses pay less, which puts more on the backs of the working people.

Moore and Fields do not understand how families with incomes between $20,000 and $200,000 a year live. Most property taxes are paid by the people in this income tax bracket. They do not know what it is like to pay between 10%–20% of their income on property taxes on their homes, vehicles, and small businesses.

 It is time for property tax to be totally eliminated. You had an article in your paper by Dr. Holly Ulbrich stating that when SC changes its sales tax, it has one shot at it. NC and Georgia both have a higher sales tax rate than SC, and they still have property taxes. She said that the sales tax base could be changed to be less regressive to poorer people. We could tax services like other states and eliminate sales tax on groceries, medicines, and medical equipment.

 Property taxes can be replaced simply by eliminating all sales tax exemptions other than the ones stated above, and raising the sales tax by three cents on the dollar. Property taxes must be eliminated because they are not based on your ability to pay. The taxing agencies penalize you for owning any property. It is unfair to poorer people who rent.

You never own your property; you rent it from the government. If you do not pay your property taxes, they will take your home and auction it off for the taxes due, and put you in the street.

In 2003, there were 22,000 pieces of property sold at tax auctions in SC. Many of these properties were owned by retired, elderly people on fixed incomes.

The next tax auction is on December 3, 2004. Why do these people have to lose their property? The different property taxing agencies do not care. They have shown no financial responsibility over the years. They are like children with a credit card with no limit.

Lexington and Richland Counties just got a 1¢ (20%) sales tax increase, and the property taxes are still going up. It is time to take away the unlimited spending and make them live like the rest of us. An increase in sales tax is the fairest way to do this.           

David Whetsell,

STOPTAX.org Lexington, SC 

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