Bamberg County tax quotient too high

Dear Editor,

Communities and counties are always seeking to bring more business and industry to their locations and Bamberg County is no exception. For many years, numerous man-hours and financial resources have been devoted to seeking out enterprises to locate in this county with minimum success. This lack of success may be explained by a recent study done by the South Carolina Policy Council.

The Policy Council has evaluated local business climates using a “tax quotient” – the amount of revenue generated by county and local taxation, compared to the same measure for all counties in the United States. Included in this evaluation are taxes, fees, assessments, fines, bureaucracy and paperwork. A tax quotient greater than 1.0 means your county has an above average reliance on tax collection and a negative tax climate for business. Less than 1.0 and your county has a more competitive tax climate. A look at the business climate around our state finds that Bamberg County is in the unenviable position of having the highest tax quotient in South Carolina! This quotient is 2.903 which means that Bamberg County’s tax quotient is almost 300% higher than the national average! When businesses are evaluating areas to locate to, you may be sure that this kind of negative is taken into consideration. A map of the state with the tax burdens of each county enumerated show that the more prosperous counties have the lowest tax quotient (for example: Greenville County’s is less than 0.50 or half the national average).

Each resident of Bamberg County needs to discuss this negative tax structure with his/her member of county council and other elected officials who are responsible for setting our tax liabilities.

This study was done prior to the recent School District 1 bond referendum. This data is provided courtesy of Justin Ross, PhD.

Rebecca K. Swindell, Bamberg, SC