Dorchester Co. voters say 'no' to sales tax referendum

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) A big issue on the ballot Tuesday night for voters in Dorchester County included the local option sales tax referendum.{}

The referendum has appeared on the ballot multiple times before. Every time voters have voted it down. This time was no different.

According to polling results, 3,550 people voted for the referendum while 7,070 voted against it.

Election officials said turnout for this special election was rather low with only approximately ten percent of the registered voters casting their ballots.

For this particular issue on the ballot, some voters had hoped the referendum would pass.

"If it goes to the intended purposed of helping people with tax relief that's fine," said voter, Bill Utsey, who supported the referendum.

In exchange of a higher sales tax that would have raised the rate to 8 percent, taxes would have decreased for property owners.

"I own one house in town and one outside of town," said Utsey.{} "I'm paying a lot of money for taxes, property taxes, so that's why I'm in favor of it."

But according to some critics like Dorchester County councilman Larry Hargett, unless a resident owned property valued at $200,000 or more, the referendum would cause voters to lose money.

"The rule of thumb is if you owned a $150,000 home, you would get about a $50 to $60 tax credit but you'd pay $100 or more in sales tax so in that effect you would lose $50, $60 dollars," he said.

While the referendum failed yet again, some voters believe this isn't the last time it will appear on the ballot.

"The way I see it, it keeps coming up eventually they're going to do it," said voter Tarsha Brown who also supported the referendum.

County leaders in favor of the referendum say it would have generated $8 million for the county.

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