S.227, S.113, H.3168, H.3457 – Allowing certain municipalities to impose a property tax

S.227 (and identical bills S.113, H.3168 and H.3457) would allow the 60 municipalities in South Carolina that do not currently have a property tax to impose one. State law currently limits how much the local property tax rate (called “millage”) can be increased by using rates from the previous year. Therefore, if a municipality doesn’t already have a millage rate, it can’t impose one. Under this bill, any municipality without a property tax (or any new municipalities created after January 1 of this year) could now do so. The initial tax would be capped at a rate sufficient to generate one-third of the previous year’s general fund expenses. After its imposition, the tax would be subject to the increase limits in current law.

For municipalities that used to have a millage, the cap on its reimposition would whatever the previous millage rate was, plus all the allowable increases in all the years since.

Quite simply, lawmakers should be looking for ways to lower taxes, not to increase them. The ultimate effect of this legislation if passed would most likely be local property tax hikes for citizens in numerous South Carolina cities and towns.

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