By Paul Gable
The Republican Liberty Caucus is circulating a petition opposing the proposed Horry County Council 7.2 mil tax increase.
According to the information we have received, the petition will be presented to Horry County Council members prior to third reading of the FY 2016 budget scheduled for council’s June 16, 2015 regular meeting.
This is the type of taxpayer involvement in the budget process that is needed to let Horry County Council members know their spendthrift ways are being watched.
The petition makes a solid case in noting that this is not the time for a tax increase for county businesses and residents since Horry County still has 7.7% unemployed. Raising taxes will not stimulate the economy to, hopefully, create new jobs.
Regardless of what has been publicized about diminishing county excess reserves and public safety needs, this tax increase is all about giving an across the board pay increase to all county employees.
According to the county’s briefing documents, a total of nearly $3 million additional dollars will be added to the county general fund to pay the 1,631 county employees paid from the general fund.
This group already earns $57,177 in pay and benefits per year on the average with a total of at least 34 paid days off each year.
The county has not responded to a request to provide the numbers on the total additional dollars that will be spent on the pay increase. Approximately 600 county employees are paid from funds other than the general fund.
Therefore, the amount of tax dollars expended on pay increases will be significantly more than the nearly $3 million already documented.
The $57,177 average salary and benefits package for county employees is far greater than private sector employees in Horry County receive in average pay and benefits – $44,779 according to the petition.
Why should those who earn less on average (private sector) get taxed more to fund a pay increase for those who already earn more on average (public sector)?
Something about that just doesn’t pass the smell test.