I want to keep you aware of something that is very concerning to me and may be one of the biggest problems facing our county. This is a fairly complicated issue, but the bottom line is this: The State mandates that the Counties provide certain services (click here for a list). The People pay for those services through various State taxes (i.e., Sales Tax). According to the current law (see statutory information here) the State is REQUIRED to send AT LEAST 4.5% of its general fund budget each year back to the Counties to pay for the services. The law is so restrictive, that it requires the State to, under no circumstance, ever decrease the amount from the previous year. The ONLY way they can get around this is to make a separate legislation each year for the sole purpose of adjusting that number. This makes it impossible to just 'hide' it in some legislation so no one can find it. The problem is that every year since 2009 the State Legislature has done just that - they have just decided to give us what they feel is appropriate without regard to the real costs of their decision. Bottom line: The law is not being followed and it has now become the norm for our State.
What does that mean for us as taxpayers? For those of us fortunate enough to live in Spartanburg County it means that over the last 5 years we have been shorted over $20M! That is $20M that you paid in taxes to the State and, since we MUST provide the services, you have also paid it to the County. You have essentially paid twice for the same services. Now, instead of upgrading our infrastructure or helping our employees with the costs of living or giving you a tax break, we are having to use all of that money to pay for the services that you have already paid for. Spartanburg is doing a great job managing our finances and our business. We have dealt with a budget that has gone from $92M in 2009 to just over $82M this year. That's a tough leap for anybody but we have dealt with it in a way that would have the smallest impact on the Taxpayers as possible. We are at the point now that something MUST be done about this Local Government Fund and that's why I need your help!
Take a moment to watch this video of the joint session of your Council and some of the Delegation Members: (HERE)
Look at some of the information here about the History of the Local Government Fund and how we got to where we are: (HERE)
What can you do? (Glad you asked!) You can contact your Representative (delegation contact info here) and let them know that you don't want to pay twice! They are very willing to help but they will need to hear from you. Together, as usual, we can do great things as long as we.....you got it....Stay Informed & Stay Involved!
Thank y'all so much. Don't hesitate to call if I can answer any questions at all.