Councilman Proposes Plan to Mend Penny Tax Program

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WOLO) —¬†Representatives with the South Carolina Department of Revenue say they have no further word on their investigation into the Penny Tax Program.

Rebuilding confidence in the Penny Tax Program is a top priority for Councilman Seth Rose, following a troubling report from the DOR.

Rose says, “I can’t think of anything more important than installing trust in this program and making sure that any wrongs are righted going forward.”
According to this letter from Department Director Rick Reames, those wrongs include potential instances of fraud, corruption and illegal activity found during a DOR review of the program.
“Immediately I knew that changes needed to take place,” Rose tells ABC Columbia.
 Rose has proposed three motions, the most important of which would give added power to the citizens oversight committee. Allowing the chairman to be an ex-officio member of the county council penny committee.
“One they’d have a vote at the committee level and two that would allow them to be purview to all documents. If the committee of council members goes into executive session to take up an matter, they’d have all information,” he says.
His plans also include reimbursement of penny tax dollars spent on an effort aimed at engaging small businesses.
“Penny proceeds should only be used for penny projects. Although this is a noble cause, the county needs to fund this Small Local Business Enterprise out of our general fund and not penny proceeds,” he explains.
Additionally Rose is calling for a revamp of the process used to approve companies selected for carrying out penny projects, saying,¬†“They’re not the only fixes that’ll have to take place in County council but they’re three major steps in the right direction.”
The motions will be on the council’s January 12th agenda, when it will be referred to the appropriate committee for vetting.