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      Group concerned about penny tax

      Barbara Wyatt says raising taxes in a weak economy is not smart.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - A group of Richland County residents jumping into the fray over the proposed penny sales tax increase.

      "People that come to work at hospitals, restaurants, all those services we depend on a lot use buses to get to work," says Barbara Wyatt. Wyatt is a part of Citizens Against the Tax Increase. "We're in support of the bus system, but not in the way the county chose to fund it."

      Wyatt says raising taxes is the last thing the county should do in tough economic times. She says there has to be another way. "Using some of the accommodation tax might be an avenue to look at, maybe continuing on with the car tax, maybe even a half penny just for the purpose of funding busses, but not for road repairs."

      Keith Seymour rides CMRTA buses regularly, he supports the referendum. "They've looked into everything and they've come up with this being the only viable way for the bus system to survive."

      Wyatt says a tax increase should be the last resort. "If we need another tax increase for the sheriff's department and unforeseen things happen with terrorism, and those kinds of things, we've just overwhelmed ourselves."

      The group is planning two more meetings before the November 2nd election.