Proposed one penny sales tax to build schools in Beaufort Co.

Proposed one penny sales tax to build schools in Beaufort Co.

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - If you live in Beaufort County, you could be paying more for your everyday purchases.

The district's superintendent proposed a one penny sales tax. Officials want to raise almost half a million dollars to accommodate the county's expected growth over the next decade.

If this sales tax is implemented, one penny for every dollar you spend here in Beaufort County will go towards expanding and building new schools. Superintendent Jeff Moss says this is the best way to raise the money, without putting a burden on taxpayers.

"We know the growth is coming. Our projections have been right on target in recent years and we estimate that we'll have more than three thousand additional kids in the next 10 years. We have to find somewhere to put them," said Jim Foster, Beaufort County School District.

The district plans to build three new schools in the Bluffton area and renovate its current schools, using the money it collects from the proposed sales tax. School officials hope to use one third of the tax revenue to give tax breaks to property owners.

"This one penny, is one that will give us the money we need to build new schools and renovate and repair existing schools, and also give a tax rebate and tax relief to people who own businesses, and people who own homes and cars," said Foster.

Some residents think that a one-cent tax is a small price to pay for an evolving school district.

"I think they should do it. They need to build better schools then we have now. We need to upgrade them and you got to have money to do it. That's how I see it. I don't mind it. I think they have to do it. You've got to keep up with the times," said Sean Crosiar, Beaufort County resident.

But not everyone is willing to give up their pennies.

"It's always only one cent on the dollar. It always go up, it never goes down. I don't feel they need a one-cent sales tax increase, they take plenty out of our paychecks now. I think they should take a pay cut to cover the difference," said Vicki Johnson, Beaufort resident.

The board will decide if the referendum will go on the November ballot, but taxpayers have the ultimate say so.

If the sales tax doesn't pan out, the district will have to find another way to pay for new schools and expansions.

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