Tuesday, October 08, 2013

CCSD's One-Cent Sales Tax Extension in Full Swing

Ruminations of a superintendent

How do we get more millions of OPM, Superintendent McGinley asks herself, when people don't want more taxes. To get the last sales tax passed we had to pretend it amounted to pennies, promise to build or renovate school buildings in every corner of Charleston County, and count on voting during an even-numbered year so that voters showing up to vote in Congressional or Presidential elections wouldl check that box, i.e., more Democrats.

First, we need to get some laws changed so that the tax will appear on the 2014 ballot. Shockingly, state law doesn't allow us to extend the tax until it has only two years left.  Michael Bobby, CCSD's chief of finances and operations, says that if he has to wait another year for the vote, "that would delay some construction projects." Michael always has my back, even though he has known all along what the law is and could have planned accordingly. The audit and finance committee of the School Board, stacked with my supporters, is happily going along with the request to change the law. It has been a blessing that I can control district audits; who knows what might have come to light otherwise.

I'm running out of options on replacing or renovating the downtown schools, so I'll be forcing the change of Sanders-Clyde from elementary to middle-school status, That way new renovations will be needed in District 20 and we'll get those downtown votes. People have short memories, so they'll have forgotten just how new the Sanders-Clyde building is. Those downtown voters who don't want it as a middle school have been kicked off the community task force and replaced with district employees, so by hook or by crook they'll approve my plan.

I already have the Mount Pleasant votes since they've been asking for a new elementary school since 2005. I've deliberately dragged the district's feet so that it can be rolled into the sales tax extension.

Then there are the rich. I can appeal to them by suggesting that a sales tax extension can be used to lower property taxes. John Barter has helped by pointing out that 30 percent of the revenue comes from tourists. No one cares about the 70 percent of locals, many of whom are poor, who must pay more to see that property owners taxes go down.

I just need a good carrot for West Ashley and it's a done deal. Maybe I can suggest that West Ashley High is seismically challenged. Michael's working on that for me, and I can count on my board supporters to lend a hand.

Yes, it's all coming together. I know I can count on the local press to print my public relations handouts without investigating too closely. Look at the headline: "Schools want law changed." Success is at hand. After all, who ever heard of a tax that had an expiration date, despite what I said in 2010? It'll go on forever.

1 comment:

Alex Peronneau said...

Don't forget, Michael Bobby is also asking the legislative delegation to apply the sales tax to groceries. The current tax exempts groceries. Enough!

As for John Barter's statement that 30% who pay this tax will [only] be tourists, then how about a break for the rest of us? This isn't a resort community like Horry County, or perhaps John Barter's view of who supports the Charleston econonmy is skewed by his position behind the private gates at Kiawah Island.

Michael Bobby is asking for the legislature to make changes that will hit local taxpayers, yet he has no mandate from the board to do this. Who's really pulling the strings at CCSD? It doesn't look like the board has any idea.