Walter: Richland library referendum just latest example of unnecessary tax increases

October 23, 2013 

Walter

— Hiding in the midst of an electoral cycle full of debates over the “strong mayor” question, problems with our decaying city infrastructure and concerns over a rising homelessness population is a referendum on an additional ad valorem tax. This library bond referendum has been cleverly hidden in an attempt to get voters to blindly approve the tax.

It is time to stop additional taxes, especially this new property tax, which was designed by special-interest groups to fund specific projects. This added tax burden will simply be another funding vehicle for another slush fund.

It is time to stop the one-cent-here, one-cent-there madness. All these cents are adding up and taking more and more out of my pocket and yours. According to The State, this new property tax will add $12 to $14 per $100,000 of home value to each annual property tax bill. It is expected to raise $59 million, to be taken out of the income of Richland County citizens — citizens who already have funded building projects that we can ill afford in this sluggish economy.

The cost to the average family is too high. It will leave less money to spend to purchase everyday commodities such as cars, furniture, clothes and meals at restaurants, all to satisfy an over-promising political class bent on retaining power through spending. Businesses, particularly restaurants and our local stores, continue to close as their patrons can no longer afford specialty food and products.

Our government needs to get back to the basics: providing for the general welfare by promoting health and safety, and cultivating a strong economy. New businesses should be encouraged to come and stay here. A vibrant economy stimulates job growth and attracts more businesses to the area. This, in turn, creates a larger tax base, and does not require new taxes.

As a candidate for Columbia’s 4th district City Council seat, I want Columbia’s tax revenues going first toward law enforcement; repairing our city’s water, sewer and storm drainage systems; upgrading parks; and fixing our decaying streets. Let’s make Columbia a vibrant economic engine, attractive to new businesses, which will promote growth and make our city a place where people from all over the country will want to work and enjoy life.

Todd Walter

Columbia

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