Lexington County is surrounded by counties that already have an 8 percent sales tax, so the typical consumer would not notice the extra penny if voters approve increasing the sales tax in a referendum the County Council is considering. In fact, I would just as soon pay my extra penny to Lexington County as to Richland County.
I would hope that the independent commission that prepares the list of projects to be funded with the penny tax would take into consideration the existing funding base for those requesting the funds. Both the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission and Lexington-Richland District 5 have received significant funds from recent bond issues and increased budgets. Fulfilling their wants would take away from projects that do not have such options. This list includes small municipalities, water and sewer and road repairs.
Road repairs appear to be the driving force behind the Penny for Progress referendum effort. The reality is that the state Legislature and the governor seem adamant about not funding the state roads. Therefore it is up to us to make Lexington County roads safe and usable, because no one else is. The state gasoline tax and the mythical state money tree are issues for another day and another political philosophy.
To those who oppose any tax, I have no answer except you get what you pay for. To all others, I suggest that you look at the items to be funded and make up your own mind just as you would with any other purchase.
George L. Duke Jr.