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Letter: Unhappy with tax increase, county leadership

Posted: January 15, 2018 4:17 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.

This week many of us will be paying our property taxes. My husband and I, like many other Kershaw County residents are not happy about the sizeable increase in tax bills over the last four years under the leadership of County Council Chairman Julian Burns. Chairman Burns ran as a conservative and still believes he is a conservative. We call him a trans-conservative; meaning his political philosophy is not aligned with his physical reality or his policies.  Of course, our taxes didn’t increase 22 percent over the last four years simply through his leadership.  He needed the support of other trans-conservatives like Councilman Dennis Arledge, Councilman Tom Gardner, and former promoter of the school bond tax increase, and now Councilman Ben Connell.   

It is bad enough these delusional “conservatives” raised property taxes on residents, but the hardest hit were local small business owners. In speaking with several small business owners, we have learned that their property tax bills increased anywhere from 24 percent to 42 percent. These are the local job providers and those responsible for economic growth. On the contrary, trans-conservatives believe it is government’s job to “develop” the economy. Under the guise of bringing jobs to the county, their fee-in-lieu of property taxes scheme renders local industries tax-exempt creating a heavy burden on small businesses who pay the lion’s share of taxes to support local government and local government schools. The burden on local small businesses will be passed along to its consumers and employees, if it doesn’t ultimately put them out of business altogether.

Another thing that really irritates me us is how voters were duped into voting in favor of the school bond referendum based on the threat that if we didn’t pass it, the County would be forced to increase millage.  So naïve voters voted for the consumption tax thinking this would prevent an increase in property taxes. Then the County raised the millage anyway! We were lied to and those responsible need to be held accountable. 

Under the current leadership, the county not only raised the millage. In 2015, they also increased the solid waste fee by 45 percent, and added a fire protection fee. Don’t be fooled.  Fees are taxes window-dressed as something essential. The bottom-line is your county Council has raised your taxes in everyway they could think of under the leadership of Chairman Julian Burns.

A true conservative knows that the best thing government can do to grow the economy is to get out of the way of small businesses and help them thrive through lowering taxes and reducing regulations. Kershaw County voters need to “drain the swamp” in Kershaw County. My husband and I will donate our time and money to real conservative candidates who will challenge the trans-conservative incumbents this spring. It is our prayer that many of you will do the same.

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