Below is the email I sent to County Council this morning regarding the promotional material about the proposed sales tax increase:
From: Ned Tolar <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 9:31 AM
Subject: Advertising "Penny for Progress"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ftownsend@lex-co.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Lexington County Council
Thank you in advance for taking a moment to read this message.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the proposal to raise the sales tax to eight percent would cost a family of four about $555 annually. That’s a lot of money.
Unfortunately, the true impact of this tax increase cannot be found in the material promoting the tax increase. I’ve looked on the “Penny for Progress” website, and there’s no mention of how much the tax burden for individuals or families would increase.
Earlier this month, I even asked the county’s highly-paid consultant to estimate how much this tax increase would cost a family of four. He appeared to be trying not to answer the question on the record, instead simply telling me to divide $300 million (the estimated revenue) by 270,000 (the county’s population).
Despite being paid for by the taxpayers, promotional material being circulated about the proposed tax increase is very one-sided. The website, for example, often refers to a “penny,” which seems designed to downplay the actual cost.
I’m writing you today with a challenge: Any website or brochure sanctioned by county government must address the true impact of an eight percent sales tax – including the additional annual cost to individuals and families. Materials financed with taxpayer dollars should be impartial and educational, rather than intended to sway voters.
I understand that the county badly wants this tax passed. But the public trust dictates that the county be as upfront and forthcoming as possible about all aspects of this increase, so that the citizens are as informed as possible and the referendum results reflect the true will of the people.
Again, thanks for reading this message.
Ned R. Tolar
Feb. 11, 2014
Why I'm running
Lexington County is a special place. There's no where Vicki and I would rather be than right here in West Columbia. We've got a great quality of life and the absolute best people anywhere.
Unfortunately, while our people are second-to-none, our county's government often falls short.
Too often, County Council fails to put their constituents' interests first. They raise taxes unnecessarily, without regard for the burden these tax increases are putting on citizens. There's a tax increase every year.
They spend carelessly, forgetting whose money it is they're spending. The recent $450,000 contract to a large campaign donor is just the latest example of Council's poor stewardship of public dollars.
Now, they want to raise the sales tax in Lexington County to a whopping eight percent. If voters approve this tax increase, it would cost the average family of four an additional $555 annually. That's a lot of money.
And what are they going to do with this money? They don't even know yet. Their "consultants" are still soliciting projects to be paid for by the tax increase.
While taxes are necessary to operate government, the power to tax citizens isn't something that should be taken lightly. The tax burden should be increased only when absolutely necessary. The current proposal to raise the sales tax to eight percent doesn't pass that test.
And it should no longer be acceptable to award lucrative contracts to politically-connected friends or campaign donors. All contracts should be awarded to the best-qualified applicants, regardless of political connections. Ensure contracts are awarded fairly would improve the overall quality of county government.
Folks, I love Lexington County, and long ago I made a special commitment to always do my part to improve our county and keep this community a special place for future generations. But a better Lexington County starts with a better county government.
That's why I'm running for County Council. I'm running to improve those areas that need improvement, including the way County Council manages taxpayer dollars.
When our public officials are at their best, and when government is at its best, there's nothing we cannot achieve.
I'd be honored to have your support. As always, call me anytime if you have any questions or would like to share your views on any issue.