Spartanburg voters to decide on 1% sales tax for new building

Spartanburg County voters will decide in November, whether to have a one cent sales tax increase.
Spartanburg County voters will decide in November, whether to have a one cent sales tax increase.

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – City and county officials in Spartanburg endorsed the need for new government facilities, particularly a courthouse, which has been plagued by mold problems for months.

Spartanburg County voters will decide in November whether to have a one cent sales tax increase.

The penny tax will help build a new government complex, right where the old one sits.

The tax won’t apply to groceries or prescription drugs, but it will tax visitors who come to Spartanburg to spend money.

Mold problems plague Spartanburg courtrooms and most would agree it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

“The penny will help us address our mold issue at our court house, which we have a public health issue,” says President and CEO of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce Allen Smith.

On November 7th voters will have a chance to decide on the tax which would fund a new Court House, Judicial Center, EMA Center, Government offices, and parking.

Smith says time is of the essence for these buildings.

“They are technologically obsolete, they were built at a time when our population was half of what it is now,” says Smith.

Just weeks before polls open, opinions are split.

If the tax fails, Ben Harrison believes the most likely alternative is higher property taxes and that would hit him right in the wallet.

“Because I pay so much in taxes already, it would definitely affect me more to pay more property taxes,” says Harrison.

Resident Carolyn Reed-Smith thinks the mold should just be cleaned up, without building a new facility.

“That’s a lot of money to say I’m going to change all of these buildings because of one problem,” says Reed-Smith. “I just don’t see that.”

The tax will affect more than those who live in Spartanburg.

“28 to 35 percent of the revenue that comes from the penny will come from people who don’t even live here,” says Smith.

Meaning people from other counties who come to Spartanburg to shop will pay the sales tax as well as those who stop at exits along I-85 and I-26.

If approved, state law only allows that one cent to be collected for 6 years, which would raise about $217 million.

There is an informational public meeting on Thursday, October 19th at 7:00pm at the Spartanburg Library Headquarters on Church Street.