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Local option sales tax

Proceed slowly

Posted: November 30, 2010 4:41 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Backers of a Kershaw County local-option sales tax which was rejected by voters earlier this month say they aren’t giving up and that they will again pursue efforts to get the penny tax passed, perhaps in a scaled-down version.  Voters turned the proposal down by a significant margin during the general election, sending officials a message that this isn’t the right time to be raising taxes.

While the projects that were on the drawing board to be funded by the tax were legitimate and didn’t seem frivolous, voters obviously felt this wasn’t the right time. That doesn’t mean that at some point in the future, opinions won’t change and Kershaw County taxpayers will be less reticent to take on an additional tax burden. But taxpayers/voters aren’t to be ignored, and backers of the plan would be wise to take things slowly and concretely rather than rapidly. There’s much consensus-building to be done before voters are ready to change their minds -- if, indeed, they are at all.

Democrats in Washington can testify to the power of the American electorate. They were turned out in droves during the election because voters felt they weren’t being responsive. Local advocates of the penny sales tax risk that same wrath if they push too hard, too fast. That doesn’t mean the projects they support aren’t admirable. It doesn’t mean the projects, if enacted, won’t make for a better Kershaw County. But it does mean that people believe now isn’t the right time, and that any efforts to revive the proposal need to be undertaken in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.



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