updated Feb. 20
County election commissions may have to let voters decide during the general election whether to approve sales tax increases intended for capital projects according to a bill the Senate passed Thursday.
Now up for consideration in the House, the proposal would ideally let more people have a voice, as voter turnout in the general election is usually higher than in other elections.
Senators are mulling a second proposal that would let counties fund education improvements using sales tax as long as that county has collected at least seven million dollars in accommodations tax. Counties that don’t meet the threshold would be able to impose a tax of no more than three percent.
Senators say if the bill passes, tax increases would require voter approval.
Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, is co-sponsoring the bill. He noted the measure would offer property tax relief. “It gives [counties] another option to pay for education capital improvements rather than higher property taxes,” he said Tuesday.
But Democrats in rural counties worry their constituents wouldn’t get the same tax relief.
The full Senate has yet to advance that bill.