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York and Lancaster Counties Rock Hill - Fort Mill - York - Tega Cay - Lancaster
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:37 PM
251 posts, read 1,005,317 times
Reputation: 91


Originally Posted by PharmD/MBA View Post
You have also seen a reduction in your grocery tax to 3% from 6%. The home in CHarleston is for sale and I have applied to have the rate changed to 6% as it is no longer owner occupied. The Governor requested to not live in the mansion in Columbia as it required renovation and he did not want the state to spend the money to do so on his behalf. The legislature forced him to reside there. He maintains his current residence as all politicians do including presidents. He also pays taxes on the property as he should. As far as your tax bill going up...I would request an explanation. I called the assessors office (York County) yesterday before I sent my message and they agreed that would not be the case. Lancaster has some explaining to do if your taxes went up as you are the first I have spoken with that has had this issue. I am not saying I don't believe you, I just do not understand how this is possible unless the Lancaster county increased the millage rate for county services beyond that of the reduction in the school millage rate. There are no exemptions for home price. There is a set formula for 50K homes to 1million dollar homes. That is just what it is. The only explanation is as I stated above. I would be on the phone Monday with Lancaster County Assessor and asking for a breakdown of my tax bill.
There is absolutely no mystery as to why my tax bill has stayed the same---as I said, this was predicted 18 months ago. In addition, various county officials have been warning citizens this would happen for some time. I'm going to try to explain why---A previous "tax relief" bill was passed back in the mid nineties which exempted owners of self-occupied homes of having to pay the local school taxes on the FIRST 100K value of their home. For example, the owner of a $125K home would pay school real estate taxes on only 25K. The owner of a 100K (and under) home, would pay zero school taxes. As with the new law, the state reimbursed the local school districts the difference. When the new law went into effect, this benefit was extended to cover the entire value of any home, even multi-million dollar homes, thus eliminating the tax advantage lower priced homes formerly enjoyed. The new sales tax was enacted so the state could afford to reimburse school districts FOR ALL the funds they lose by not being allowed to collect real taxes on homes. Since my home is valued at 125K, I was of course no longer required to pay tax on the last 25K, which you would think would save me a little money. As predicted, however, my county was busy this year approving new expenditures in other areas; additional police, county buildings, equipment, etc., therefore the tax millege rate, other than for schools, increased, overriding the savings from school tax. If you look at your tax bill, you wil note that the bill breaks down your taxes, telling what category all your tax money goes to. For example, you will likely be paying for fire districts, technical colleges, recreation districts, etc.---Lancaster CO even has a section for USC-Lancaster! You will also see a payment for school construction debt, which is not effected by the new law (you still pay it, and fast growing counties such as York and Lancaster are paying more). This is a simple explanation--obviously tthere are other issues--but I didn't want to write a book. When all is said and done, the purpose of the new law was two-fold 1) to reduce the tax libility for owners of high-end homes and 2) reduce the total percent of ALL TAXES collected going to public schools. Since the one percent sales tax is not expected to cover the shortfall generated by the real estate tax reduction, and since there are new regulations added to to the state constitution (approved by voters 18 months ago) which prohibit the establishment of new taxes to support public schools, it seems the new laws will be effective. Sorry for the very long post!
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:53 PM
Location: Fort Mill, SC (June-07)
116 posts, read 492,896 times
Reputation: 81
Well stated Moe. I do not understand why mine in Charleston went down to the exact extent of the reduction in school millage. Perhaps, the 100k exemption was not available in Charleston County and therefor I was paying to much in the first place. I am aware of the breakdown on my tax bill it is just more simply stated that my bill was decreased.

I will say this about why the law was enacted. This is without political motivation nor bias that so many posted are load with including those which seem to categorize individuals as haves and have nots or better yet those with expensive homes which I will say I do not have. I worked with the individuals who debated the issue in Columbia and the largest problem was the unchecked annual increases in property taxes by small constituent school boards. It seemed that every year there were new problems and issues that the board members stated required additional funding. It got to the point where we , as SC, were paying nearly 1000 more per child on school systems than the top performing districts in the nation. What was happening with these unchecked increases is that many elderly and otherwise on fixed income individuals were being taxed out of their homes. For this reason I personally disagree with all property taxes as you never truly own anything which is contrary to the design of our nation. With consumption taxes, such as sales taxes, you chose what you are taxed on. If you buy a 2000 TV you are taxed accordingly and if you by a 150 TV you are also taxed accordingly. The accordingly is your ability to pay. This closes the loop holes that are so often manipulated by many in our country both rich and poor.

I would like to close with the fact that my wife is a first grade school teacher and is very in tune with the financial issues of the school districts. However, more money for the system is not the answer. Reallocation of funds from districts to schools is more likely the correct decision. Perhaps we should investigate what makes other states successful rather than continually looking for ways to throw money at a problem that is far more complex than the financial shortfall can explain. Continued increases in funding for schools is an excellent warm fuzzy but not a solution for the problem as a whole.
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