Taxes Are Ugly, Lies Are Uglier

Taxes are ugly.

I don’t like taxes. I don’t want new taxes. I DO want solutions to community problems.

LCCW Pamphlet
LCCW Pamphlet – Click to enlarge

I also don’t like lies; more so than my distaste for taxes.  The self-described Lexington County Citizens Watch is telling lies about the town’s proposed hospitality tax.  Apparently, the organization (run by non-residents of the Town of Lexington) is distributing pamphlets calling for citizens to oppose the tax.  Town Council members are getting calls about them from constituents.  When the contents of the pamphlet are shared with Council members, the recipients are surprised to hear that the truth and the contents of the letter are at odds.

The pamphlet complains about turning parts of Highway 6 and church street into one-way roads.  While it’s true that sections of those roads will be one-way, it’s only 1/3 of a mile!  And the point is to eliminate left turns at the center of town.  Left turns slow traffic and are dangerous, points lost to LCCW.

They also make the claim that, somehow, this routing will “flood” neighborhoods with more traffic.  That is not true.  The Church Street one-way route will move traffic across Maiden Lane back to Highway 6, not through neighborhoods.  The LCCW is intentionally misleading people with their hyperbolic misrepresentations.

LCCW also has a sophomoric online petition that includes the following:

Whereas a new tax is the worst thing for our fragile economy;
Because a higher sales tax will drive business out of town;
Whereas, traffic circles and one way streets are not what Lexington needs;

The tax will, in reality, have zero effect on the economy whereas ever-worsening traffic congestion DOES negatively impact on businesses.  Does the LCCW not know that the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce unanimously endorses the H-Tax as proposed as a solution to the town’s traffic problems? Yeah, the GLCoC is all about driving businesses out of town and levying a massive tax burden on a crushed economy.

Lexington County has one of the most robust economies in South Carolina including the lowest unemployment rate and one of – if not THE – highest rate of new home construction.  More communities are petitioning to be annexed into the town.  With this economic energy comes more people and more vehicles.  More traffic.

The LCCW evidently considers the citizens of Lexington to be pathetically stupid by trying to convince them the tax “will drive businesses out of town.” If that were even remotely true, Harbison would be a ghost town, as would the (exploding) Vista in downtown Columbia.  You see, Richland County’s 2% tax on prepared foods was enacted in 2003. So, if you eat at Longhorn’s, Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, British Bulldog, Hu Hot, Liberty Steakhouse, Wet Willie’s or anywhere else in those two areas, you are hallucinating because the all-knowing LCCW contends that they were driven out because of the hospitality tax that was in place before they opened.  How many of you refuse to eat at Harbison or in the Vista because of their 2% Hospitality Tax?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

The LCCW also pronounced that “traffic circles and one way streets are not what Lexington needs.”  Now, in addition to being economists, business experts and municipal strategists, they are now traffic and civil engineers.  What DOES Lexington need, Citizen’s Watch?  How about ruby slippers for everyone so, at the end of the work day, we click our heels and get magically transferred home?

Compared to the Town which identified traffic as a top priority in 2002, how much time and effort have opponents to the tax in general and the LCCW in particular spent researching the “needs” of Lexington?

Further, the LCCW has stupidly mocked those who point out that the three proposed intersections will be safer.  The facts, however (the bane of the LCCW), say otherwise.

Like surgery, taxes are always unwanted but sometimes necessary.  This is one of the necessary times.  Just as physical ailments often can’t wait be healed by time alone, our traffic problems WILL become chronic.  Hoping or waiting for a miracle to shrink a tumor or heal a damaged organ when surgery is the only option is akin to assuming that state or county money will fall from the sky and land in Lexington’s bank account to fix our roads.

The Lexington County Citizens Watch complains about the tax, but offers no valid alternative to fixing the problem.  Like the goofball cousin that knows everything without really knowing anything, the LCCW is trying to convince people that there is no problem, yet they know best how to fix it.

I voted against the county penny tax last year because it was tainted, bloated and I was suspicious.  What the Lexington Town Council is proposing is none of that.  If it were even close, I would oppose it, too and if it every comes to that, I’ll be louder in opposition than anyone.  The Council has done its homework and learned the lesson that the County experience taught.

All citizens of the Town of Lexington are urged to look into the facts, not bend to emotion or outside propaganda.  Research the issue and attend the meetings being held to educate the community.  The next meeting will be Monday, August 24 – 6:00pm in the Conference Center of the Lexington Municipal Complex, 111 Maiden Lane.

Some types of ugly may be unattractive, but other types of ugly are so hideous they will never be tolerable.

5 comments

  1. For the first time in years I will vote yes for the 2% tax request. This is a specific detailed plan. Not constituent pork. No one will stop eating in the restaurants. No one will change their eating out habits in Lexington. But Traffic will increase and costs will increase to pay for road construction more than the 2% requested. Get it done now and fix the $&@? Problem!

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    • Actually, there won’t be a vote. The town can initiate it without referendum or even public notice. Council, however, is being proactive and holding a series of public meetings to educate citizens and inform them of the plans.

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  2. The Chamber of Commerce is a government puppet! As usual, the pro government, “tax and spend” proponents won’t tolerate nonconformity of the little people. Kudos, however, for the admission of that fact, at the end of this pathetic opinion piece.

    I DO live in the Town of Lexington and I don’t believe that the Town has any business collecting taxes for roads that it doesn’t own. These are county and state roads!

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