We are hearing a great deal of talk about additional sales taxes being needed for all areas of government from road construction to education. I believe that the history of sales taxes in South Carolina needs to be examined to see what sales taxes were in the past and why they were raised.
I am not a historian and I am sure someone can write a much better letter than this one on the subject.
I believe the sales tax in South Carolina started in 1951, and it was 3 percent at that time. There was a cap of $75 on any one item.
In 1969, it was raised to 4 percent, probably to improve government services and/or infrastructure. The sales tax was increased to 5 percent in 1984. I believe we were told this increase was to permanently solve the educational needs of the state and another increase would never be needed to improve education.
In 2007, the sales tax was increased to 6 percent to fix our roads among other things. Of course, there isn’t enough money now to do this.
The local option sales tax can be increased by local governments up to 2 percent, which brings it to 8 percent in some areas. With inflation figured in the equation (since 1951) and sales taxes on laundry and dry cleaning services, sleeping accommodations, communications (yes, cell phones are included) and electricity, I wonder if the government’s appetite for more sales taxes can be satisfied.
Charlie E. Ledford
North Edgewater Drive