A hearing has been delayed in Richland County’s lawsuit seeking to block state tax officials from withholding revenue from its controversial penny sales tax program.
Circuit Court Judge Allison Lee on Thursday granted the S.C. Department of Revenue’s request to postpone a hearing that was scheduled for Friday, a revenue agency spokeswoman said. The delay came despite county officials’ request for a quick ruling.
A new hearing date has not been set, the spokeswoman said.
At immediate stake in the legal fight is the next $16 million payment of transportation penny tax collections that is due in July to the county from the revenue agency, which distributes the collections after businesses collect the money.
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In the suit, filed May 20, county officials argue the tax collection agency does not have the authority to withhold money and that it is trying to usurp the county’s right to manage its own affairs.
The state and county have been locked in a fight since late last year over how the county has been spending the money. A Revenue Department letter made public in December says the agency’s audit of the county turned up evidence of public corruption, fraud and millions in wasteful or potentially illegal spending.
The state agency turned over its findings to the State Law Enforcement Division in case criminal violations are involved.