There’s something troubling and, quite frankly, fishy about the S.C. Department of Revenue’s request to postpone a hearing in the matter of whether the department’s director, Rick Reames, has the right to withhold Richland County transportation sales tax revenue and whether he has the right to demand the county change the way it administers the penny tax program.
For well over a year, Mr. Reames and DOR have relentlessly attacked Richland’s penny program, made careless claims of corruption and bullied County Council in an attempt to get it to make sweeping changes. Now that the county has wisely challenged the legal authority Mr. Reames claims to have, he and his office have engaged in stall tactics by asking for a continuance on the eve of Friday’s hearing in the lawsuit.
This is simply further politics at play by Mr. Reames, Rusty DePass and others who have opposed the penny sales tax from the beginning and have been fighting to overturn the people’s will ever since the penny tax was approved in 2012.
And Mr. Reames decision to retain Rep. James Smith, a Democratic legislator from Richland County, as a lawyer in this case proves what we’ve suspected all along: This is political gamesmanship on Mr. Reames’ part, under the guise that he is trying to protect Richland taxpayers.
It’s time for the shenanigans to end so that Richland County can return to the business voters authorized it to do with the approval of the penny sales tax in 2012: fixing the county’s roads and supporting the public transportation system.
James L. Felder
Former state representative