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The Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce encourages citizens to vote yes on the Capital Projects Sales Tax.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, is an important day for all U.S. citizens. It is the next chance we have to choose the people who will represent us in local, state and national government.

Also Bamberg County voters will have the opportunity to vote yes on the Capital Projects Sales Tax. A yes vote will not increase the sales tax in Bamberg County, it will just authorize the collection of the present one-cent tax for seven additional years.

Bamberg County, and the municipalities of Bamberg, Denmark, Ehrhardt, Olar and Govan, as well as the Little Swamp community, submitted projects to the Capital Projects Sales Tax Committee. The committee determined how much sales tax would be collected over the seven-year period and allocated what was an appropriate and fair distribution of those funds.

The current capital sales tax has averaged collecting $850,000 per year for the projects that voters approved in 2012. If all of those projects had been funded by property tax, property taxes would have been around 32 mills higher each year over the last seven years.

The same is true of the projects on this referendum. If they are not funded by continuing to collect the current one-cent sales tax, then the only other funding source that the county and municipalities have is to increase property taxes.

The excerpt below is from the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s website, stating why the state gives counties the option of adding the one-cent sales tax.

"Capital Projects: The local capital projects sales and use tax is authorized under South Carolina Code §4-10-300 et seq. This tax is a general sales and use tax on all sales at retail (with a few exceptions) taxable under the state sales and use tax. This tax is imposed specifically to defray the debt service on bonds issued for various capital projects in the counties that impose this type of local tax and is collected by the Department of Revenue on behalf of these counties."

According to our research, only six counties in South Carolina have not taken advantage of the state law that allows capital projects to be funded with the one-cent sales tax. Forty South Carolina counties, including Bamberg County, takes advantage of the fact that sales taxes are paid by all citizens, as well as visitors passing through the county, not just property owners.

Please go to the poles on Nov. 6 and vote YES on the Capital Projects Sale Tax referendum so Bamberg County can continue to fund some capital projects without increasing property taxes.

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Jerry Bell is director of the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the 2018 Bamberg County Capital Project Sales Tax Commission

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