Critics show opposition to proposed tax increase for CMRTA

(Columbia, WACH)-The Richland County Council is trying to save Columbia's bus problem with a proposed penny sales tax, but not everyone is on board with the idea.

Members of a new committee called "Not Another Penny" like South Carolina Association of Taxpayers President Don Weaver; expressed their concerns Tuesday at the Richland County Administration building. If the referendum passes in November's election, it will raise the tax rate to 8%.

But critics argue that only a small portion of the tax increase will go to the bus system. The rest will go to a slush fund for unrelated, undetermined projects.

Former CMRTA Board Member Michael Letts said those projects are eligible for other forms of funding; such as hospitality taxes, but that other ways of funding were not considered by the council.

"If you are that concerned about the bus system; which we are, then separate the two. Allow the integrity of the people in Richland County to be able to vote for what they view is a legitimate need. Do not add pork barrel projects to a bill that can easily stand on its own."

A similar referendum was shot down by voters two years ago. Opponents urge voters to do their research again before deciding this time.