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upstate29650

OT: A Matter of Taxation

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Greenville News this morning is reporting on an upcoming property owner revolt, in the face of anticipated rising taxes. Some in Cola are suggesting raising the state sales tax by as much as 3%! While I tend to support a "pay as you go" taxation theory, I think 3% is too steep. Use this space to post your ideas & suggestion. Here are my thoughts.

First, a 3% increase will mean the sales tax for SC will skyrocket to 8%, placing us on par with states like TN & TX. Those states do not have a state income tax. Should we remove ours as well?

Ideas to raise state income....As a smoker & drinker, I think it's time to raise the "sin tax" on alcohol & cigarettes. Our taxes on these items are some of the lowest in the South. I suggest raising them to within 5% of our closest neighboring state. People who drink & smoke tend to drive to a nieghboring state to stock up if they perceive a savings, no matter how small. SC attracts smokers from GA & NC to buy cigs (not sure on alcohol), and by raising taxes on these items, we will not drive them away, and still increase state revenues.

On alcohol, it's time to do away with the antiquated notion of closing the "red dot" stores by 7PM. There's no reason why they can't stay open until 11PM at least. I know I'm treading on dangerous ground with the fundie crowd. I have opinions on that issue that are best not addressed here. In any event, with an increase on alcohol taxes, it makes sense to keep the liquor stores open later. (For those of you concerned about drunk driving, the people who purchase alcohol at the red dots tend to take their purchases home. They tend to not get back out on the roads. People who drink at bars tend to cause the majority of drunk driving incidents. I'm sure there's data to back this up, but I'm not gonna look it up right now

:P ).

Also, I believe renters don't pay their fair share of property taxes (yes, I know it's built in to the rent payments), but when you think about all the advantages renters receive from programs funded by state funds, I think a tax of some sort should be assessed. Not sure what amount, but it's a thought (I have both rented & current own property here).

I am also a big fan of impact fees for new development. SC is still an inexpensive place to do business & raise a family, so I see zero impact on new development from a fee. Greenville County either has or is about to impose such a fee, yet development is still happening.

Lastly, if our sales tax is gonna be raised, then we need to do away with the tax on food & medicine. Most states don't assess sales tax on these items, and neither should we.

These are my thoughts & opinions. What are yours?

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btoy    20

I think we should do away with all property taxes and institute a sales tax. It is the right thing to do. In my opininon property taxes are wrong become none property owners still take advantage of the services provided by property taxes, such as schools. Yet they do not contribute. Plus our taxes would help be covered by visitors to the state our are using our public services as well.

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I think we should do away with all property taxes and institute a sales tax. It is the right thing to do. In my opininon property taxes are wrong become none property owners still take advantage of the services provided by property taxes, such as schools. Yet they do not contribute. Plus our taxes would help be covered by visitors to the state our are using our public services as well.

Yes, I too think we (as a nation, not just SC) need to move towards that ideal. Taxation would be more fairly distributed amongst the masses. And I firmly believe that if we must pay taxes, then everyone should pay their fair share, with the burden distributed equally & fairly.

It's a simple philosophy. If you don't wanna pay too much in taxes, cut back on your consumption of goods & services.

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vicupstate    220

Yes, I too think we (as a nation, not just SC) need to move towards that ideal. Taxation would be more fairly distributed amongst the masses. And I firmly believe that if we must pay taxes, then everyone should pay their fair share, with the burden distributed equally & fairly.

It's a simple philosophy. If you don't wanna pay too much in taxes, cut back on your consumption of goods & services.

The way to be sure everyone pays there fair share of taxes is to assess taxes on different things. A poor person that is just sraping by, cannot cut back on their consumption but so much.

There are about 9 states that don't have an income tax. There are a few that don't have a sales tax. There is one (NH) that has neither. There are NONE that have NO property taxes.

Property owners place a burden on government because their property is protected/patroled by firemen and policemen. They require water and sewer connections, and get their garbage and yard refuge picked up. Why shouldn't property taxes be used to cover these expenses?

Some would argue that an expensive home, and a modest or even substandard home, should pay the same property taxes, since they receive the same services. That is more reasonable than eliminating them altogether.

Schools are largely paid for by State funds (income and sales taxes), not property taxes (about 50% of the entire state budget). Therefore renters do pay for schools, because they pay those taxes. Plus, it is true that property taxes are built into rent payments to some degree. Additionally, even those that don't own a home, usually own a car, so they pay those property taxes.

Instead of raising the sales tax 3%, the General Assembly should repeal ALL , or nearly all, of the sales tax exemptions. This would raise $1billion dollars. That is about half of what it would take to eliminate ALL property taxes. The other billion dollars needed could come from raising sales taxes 1% (about 600 million in revenue) and levying a statewide-uniform schools-only property tax. This property tax would be only about 1/3 of the current rates. Since it is a state-wide, state levied tax, it could only be increased by the legislature, and could only be spent on elementary and secondary education (not colleges).

I also wouldn't have a problem with raising cigarette and alcohol taxes. Our cigarette tax is the lowest in the country, so there is plenty of room to raise it without losing tourist purchases. Users of these items also place a disproportionate burden on government, and therefore it is reasonable to tax these items.

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GvilleSC    89

The cigarette tax definitely needs to be raised and go towards paying for medicare. PERIOD! Sanford needs to do this, I support him for the most part, but this is one thing that he needs to get his act together on!

All this sounds good but a flat tax scares me. It's going to hit the poorest people the hardest. Since this is the land of opportunity and people have the freedom to move from one class to the next, a regressive tax is more American, IMO. And I realize that no all things American are good :D , but I'm just saying that one of the greatest things about this country would be severely damamged by a flat tax, like a sales tax. Dont get me wrong, I like having a sales tax, it just shouldnt be too steep to make up for other taxed areas. An increase would be fine, just nothing large.

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Version70-8    0

1) IMO it is hard to justify one tax over another without a willingness as a state to try certain ideas until we find the one that works best. All voters should be able to vote for the changes as long as we all receive a coherent, and truthful, explanation of the idea.

2) Wouldn't a national sales tax that eliminates income tax unfairly cost the poor more and the rich less since we all would pay the same rate, whereas the income tax in theory is aimed to be based on the amount earned by one person? (Keep in mind that states that are income tax free also pay a ton more on their car taxes.)

3) Cigarettes and alcohol must be raised. Look at the rate NC just increased their's to last year! I also believe that if I choose to purchase a bottle of Vodka, pay the taxes, and contribute to the state then I should be able to do so after 7pm. If you don't drink, cool, but you shouldn't tell me when I can.

4) Sales taxes should be raised 1% or so but we should also promote the chance for voters in one city to adopt a temporary increase (ie. how Charlotte adopted a 1% increase for a year to fund wanted items) as long as the majority voted for the idea.

5) Hold the state more accountable for showing us in detail where our money is going. We all know of pork-barreling but yet most are content with complaining and not acting. People are scared of the word "tax" because they can't see the money at use. If we all knew that a 1% increase was headed to a certain issue and were consistently updated and held the legislature accountable if things sidetracked, more people might consider the tax?

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Schools are largely paid for by State funds (income and sales taxes), not property taxes (about 50% of the entire state budget). Therefore renters do pay for schools, because they pay those taxes. Plus, it is true that property taxes are built into rent payments to some degree. Additionally, even those that don't own a home, usually own a car, so they pay those property taxes.

I don't doubt what you're saying, but if this is the case, then why is 1/3 (at least) of my property tax bill earmarked for Greenville County Schools? If all property owners in the county pay around the same percentage, it would seem to me the local public schools would be flush with cash, and not need any from sales tax revenues.

Then again, I'm still trying to figure out how government in SC works. :P

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Version70-8    0

In reference to Vicupstate:

That doesn't make sense to me. You just said that a poor person cannot cut back on consumption but so much and that taxes should be assessed fairly, then you say that all homes should be taxed the same amount?

IMO, all homes should be taxed based on the value of their home in the same way that cars are currently. The older the home, the less the tax. To me that should be 50% of the property tax and the rest would come from the tax on the value of the land where the homes is built.

A lot of homes are and have been annexed into cities nationwide by no choice of the owner so although owners should contribute to city services fees, in no way should they bear the brunt of the city's own decision.

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vicupstate    220

I don't doubt what you're saying, but if this is the case, then why is 1/3 (at least) of my property tax bill earmarked for Greenville County Schools? If all property owners in the county pay around the same percentage, it would seem to me the local public schools would be flush with cash, and not need any from sales tax revenues.

Then again, I'm still trying to figure out how government in SC works. :P

Actually school taxes are usually at LEAST 50% of the total property tax bill.

Education is the primary expense of state and local governments, that is why it takes so much money. A school bus drives through every neighborhood 5 days a week. Compare that to a garbage truck once a week. Plus even the lowest paid teacher is paid more than a garbageman. Then there is the cost of feeding the students lunch at about $1 a day, plus breakfast in many cases. And that is before we even mention the cost of buildings, heating those buildings, athletic fields, school dances, etc., etc. etc.

Some would argue that an expensive home, and a modest or even substandard home, should pay the same property taxes, since they receive the same services. That is more reasonable than eliminating them altogether.

That doesn't make sense to me. You just said that a poor person cannot cut back on consumption but so much and that taxes should be assessed fairly, then you say that all homes should be taxed the same amount?

I did NOT say that I support taxing all homes the same. I said that "SOME would argue..." that point. I merely stated that a flat property tax would be BETTER than NO property tax at all. They do have a point that the cost of providing police protection, just to use one example, is basically to same whether a house is 5,000 sq. ft on the beach, or is 1,000 sq. ft and in a distressed neighborhood.

However, I feel that the tax system should be progressive in nature. Property taxes should be based on value, because it preserves the progressive aspect of property taxes.

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Another positive idea.

Maybe SC should start doing safety & emisisons testing on all vehicles registered in the state. Charge a fee ($20 for emissions, maybe $35 for inspection), which should hopefully still be less than the fees paid on the tag if the schools portion is eliminated.

Not only would the state recoup some revenue, but our cars would run cleaner & safer, which may lead to lower car insurance rates across the state.

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Another positive idea.

Maybe SC should start doing safety & emisisons testing on all vehicles registered in the state. Charge a fee ($20 for emissions, maybe $35 for inspection), which should hopefully still be less than the fees paid on the tag if the schools portion is eliminated.

Not only would the state recoup some revenue, but our cars would run cleaner & safer, which may lead to lower car insurance rates across the state.

Not to mention the air quality issues that are popping back up in the news lately.

I don't think it should be a revenue stream as much as a mechanism for keeping the crap off the road. I can't tell you how many vehicles I see that have no business being on the road. In NY, we had a $14 inspection, but it was given by the local repair shop. The problem there is that its a perfect opportunity for the shops to create a laundry list of unneccessary repairs. From what I understand, that is also the way it was here in SC. In CT they had state run inpection stations that did not do repair work. That would be the way to go in SC.

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