Is Tax Proposed in Greenville Co. Working in Other Counties? - WSPA.com

Is Tax Proposed in Greenville Co. Working in Other Counties?

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How has a proposed penny sales tax referendum to fix roads worked out in other parts of the state? How has a proposed penny sales tax referendum to fix roads worked out in other parts of the state?
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

It’s a decision that could affect your commute and your wallet.

Greenville County leaders are now starting formal talks about whether to ask you to pay more for road improvements.

7 On Your Side first broke this story last month after it came up in our Town Hall in Greenville.

Kevin Lundkovsay said he blew out a tire just a few weeks ago in Greenville County.

“I think that's the biggest thing, is just the potholes. It seems like you've got to dodge a pothole everywhere you go," said Lundkovsay.

But would he vote to add a penny sales tax for the county to take over repairs to state roads?

“Sure, as long as it goes to that and it's not going to something else," said Lundkovsay.

If Greenville County does decide to put a referendum on the Nov. 2014 ballot, you will see a list of specific projects the money would go toward. The penny sales tax would be in place for a fixed amount of time -- most likely eight years.

“The good thing about the sales tax is it does expire. And it cannot be extended by county council or anybody else unless there's another referendum -- the voters vote to extend it or reject it," said Greenville County Council member Butch Kirven, who’s been spearheading the initiative.

So how has it worked out in other parts of the state?

York County has put this referendum before voters three times since 1997. Each time, it's passed by a larger margin of votes. In 1997, it squeaked by with just 51 percent of the vote. In 2003, it passed by 73 percent. In 2011, 82 percent of voters gave it a thumbs-up.

The tax has paid for $640 million of road projects in York County.

“What they've done there has been successful for them, but I don't know that that would work here,” said Greenville County Council member Joe Dill.

Dill is skeptical about the penny sales tax, which would pay to fix both state and local roads.

“These are state roads. I've got a major problem going and working on state roads," said Dill.

“If we don't do that, we go back to waiting on the state and federal governments to decide when or if they're going to do anything. And we've been waiting to see several years now without much positive results to show for it,” said Kirven.

Supporters estimate the penny sales tax would generate $65 million a year in Greenville County.

Similar referendums have passed in more than a dozen South Carolina counties.

But it has failed in several counties as well, including Anderson County in 2008.

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