Richland consumers to start paying higher sales tax Wednesday

dhinshaw@thestate.com April 29, 2013 

— Starting Wednesday, shoppers in Richland County will pay an additional penny-on-the-dollar sales tax to fund transportation improvements.

At a time when the state is agonizing over how to fix a crumbling road system, Richland County becomes one of at least 11 counties among the state’s 46 collecting a local sales tax at least partly for roads, said Susan Turkopuls with the S.C. Association of Counties.

The sales tax in Richland County now will be 8-cents on the dollar, with the local penny charged on groceries, which normally are exempt.

Richland County Councilman Paul Livingston called it “an investment that will transform our community.”

Retailers were notified by mail to start charging the tax, said Samantha Cheek, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Revenue.

In Richland County, the money primarily will be used to build, pave and resurface roads, with smaller amounts paying for the bus system and for new nature trails, bike lanes and sidewalks.

The tax is on the books for 22 years or until it generates $1.07 billion, whichever comes first.

Voters approved the tax in a Nov. 6 referendum, 52 percent to 48 percent.

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