What if a tax, which citizens can vote for, has the potential to reduce your biggest tax bill?

I am writing this column to inform you how the local option sales tax works. You will vote on this tax in Beaufort County Nov. 2.   

The 1% local option sales tax, also known as LOST, is designed to give Beaufort County residents a tax credit.

If voters decide to approve the 1% local option sales tax, 71% of the proceeds from the local option sales tax is converted into a tax credit or a tax reduction for Beaufort County taxpayers.

The other 29% of the proceeds comes back to your local governments to help fund public projects such as more parks, sidewalks, lighting and environmental projects.

If approved, a 1% sales tax will be added to purchases made in Beaufort County in May 2022. Since tourists and visitors are also buying items in Beaufort County, many out-of-towners are contributing to the tax. This is what makes this tax different than your property taxes.

More people adding to the tax proceeds means Beaufort County residents are carrying less of a burden. Add in the fact about three-quarters of the tax proceeds are banked for a tax credit for Beaufort County taxpayers.

This tax lets the visitors, residents of other counties and out-of-towners, who are buying items in Beaufort County, help you with your tax bill.

According to the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the sales tax would generate “approximately $49 million in revenue in Beaufort County” for the 2022-23 fiscal year. It is estimated Bluffton would receive about $7 million in revenue from this tax.

If you want to see what the possible tax savings could be for you, use the calculator here: boostourcommunities.com/calculator.

For more details about how the potential portion of this tax will help Bluffton specifically, visit boostourcommunities.com/bluffton.

It is among my duties to help explain what taxes mean. I am fully aware many people are confused about ballot questions. Many times, they are written with language that leaves people guessing what they voted for or against.

Please inform yourself about this issue and ask questions. You have the power to choose or reject it. A “yes” vote means you agree this tax should be implemented. A “no” tax is a vote against this tax.

Remember, what makes this tax different from your property taxes is that it is shared with all people who purchase items in our region, and part of the proceeds are applied as a credit to the tax bills of those who live here. 

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton. lsulka@townofbluffton.com