UNION COUNTY — Of the six candidates who took part in the debate sponsored by the Union County Democratic Party this past Thursday five say they favor passage of the one cent Local Option Sales Tax while the other is adamantly opposed.
The debate, which was held in the USC Union Auditorium, featured a series of questions on a variety of issues facing the county. The questions were asked of each of the candidates participating in the debate.
One of those questions concerned taxes, particularly the proposed one cent Local Option Sales Tax which will be submitted to the voters of Union County in a referendum this November. All of the candidates participating in the debate were asked the following:
Growing all of Union County is a must. Discussion is being implemented for a possible referendum for a special projects tax for capital improvements and also consideration for a penny sales tax (in lieu) of taxes.
What is your position on taxes and why?
The race for the Democratic nomination for the District 2 Union County Council seat pits incumbent Ralph Tucker against challengers John Glenn and James R. Rice.
In his response to the question, Tucker said “I support passage because I think it will generate some revenue for Union County because everyone that comes in to Union will pay that tax. It won’t be just the people of Union County paying it, but everyone that comes in and buys something.”
Glenn said that he likes the penny sales tax and favors its passage because he feels it can help with the county budget deficit while providing property owners with some tax relief.
“If we can get that the people passing through Union County will have to pay it,” Glenn said. “There’s also a lot of people who don’t own a home and if you get the penny sales they will be paying also. It will also help out some on this deficit and give our property owners some relief. So I hope it will pass.”
Rice said that he favors it as a means of keeping down property taxes.
“I’m in favor of the penny sales tax,” Rice said. “I hope it will eliminate a property tax increase.”
The race for the Democratic nomination for the District 3 Union County Council seat pits incumbent Tommy Ford against challenger Howard “Wahoo” Gibson.
Ford said he favors the sales tax as a means of spreading the tax burden more equally in the county.
“I’m for the one cent sales tax because everybody will pay, people coming through Union County will pay,” Ford said. “Everybody will pay even if they don’t own property. I think it will be good for Union County.”
Gibson, however, said he is opposed to any tax increases including the proposed one cent sales tax and instead favors ending government duplication as a means of cutting spending and eliminating the need for any tax increase.
“I’m for not raising taxes,” Gibson said. “If we had one form of government we wouldn’t need a tax increase. If you eliminate all those council members and mayors and go to one form of government you would not have to raise taxes.”
The race for the Democratic nomination for the District 5 Union County Council seat pits incumbent Randall “Chump” Hanvey against challenger Tommie Hill.
Hill said that while he normally doesn’t favor any tax increase, he’s in favor of passage of the sales tax as a means of eliminating fees the county currently levies and eliminating the need for any property tax increase. He said he also favors it because it would help spread the tax burden more evenly around the county.
“If we had that we could do away with those $15 and $25 fees,” Hill said. “I feel like it would give everybody their fair share of the tax burden rather than just some people. Even the people coming through our county would be paying it.”
Hanvey did not participate in Thursday’s debate.
For more about the candidates and their answers to the questions posed during the debate, see Saturday’s edition of The Union Times or online at www.uniondailytimes.com.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.