By Paul Gable
A major tax increase will be proposed at the Horry County Council budget workshop Wednesday May 27, 2015.
According to county sources familiar with the plan, taxes for the Horry County general fund budget will be proposed to increase up to 23% (8.25 mils added to the current 35.6 general fund millage).
In addition, an increase of 67% will be requested on the county road fee to bring it up to $50 per private vehicle.
The tax increase is being parsed as providing needed money for the Horry County Police Department, Sheriff’s office and Solicitor’s office with the preponderance of it going to HCPD.
But, it also includes an across the board pay increase for all county employees plus providing money for a proposed merit, incentive pay raise plan.
And it must be remembered, while the general fund tax increase will apply to all property holders in Horry County, those who live in the incorporated municipalities gain essentially no benefit from HCPD.
Taxing someone for services they don’t receive isn’t supposed to be included in conservative Republican lingo.
Just a few years ago, a tax increase of this size for the general fund budget would have never made it into Horry County Council budget discussions.
But, with one-third of the council having been replaced since 2012, the times they are a changing.
With this tax increase proposal raising its head a mere month before the budget for next fiscal year is required to be finished, you have to wonder how much thought has gone into cutting expenses in other areas before deciding to add a big tax increase.
When I first moved to Horry County over 31 years ago, I saw bumper stickers on locals’ vehicles that said – “We don’t care how you do it in New York.”
Whether that attitude among locals has changed in the intervening period, I can’t say. However, whether locals now care how it is done in New York or not, the exact same pattern, of large property tax increases, is raising its head here.
Where are all the Grover Norquist followers we keep hearing about, but never seem to meet, in South Carolina?
At least we’ll get to see who the real conservatives are, if any, on Horry County Council.