State Supreme Court to decide on Florence Co. penny referendum - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

State Supreme Court rules in favor of Florence Co. penny tax

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The State Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether or not people in Florence will vote on the county's Penny Sales Tax in November.

Florence County Council Chair James Schofield says the SC Supreme court voted 5 to 0 in favor of the penny sales tax, and allowing Florence County to handle the money for the tax as they plan to

That vote means the request for injunction of the Florence County Penny Sales Tax by the South Carolina Department of Revenue is DENIED.

"Well I think it went as well as we could hope for," said County Chairman James Schofield when these proceedings first began.

A few weeks ago the Attorney General's Office launched a lawsuit against the County. The Attorney General's Office didn't want to talk about the case on camera, but the lawsuit says the county is illegally allowing a referendum vote this November. This would give the people of Florence County the chance to vote on whether or not they want to keep the Penny Sales Tax in place for another seven years.

"Issues before the Supreme Court are about law, and lady Justice should have the blindfold on," said James Schofield.

State prosecutors argued Florence County can't hold a general election in November because this November is not considered a general election year.

The AG's office also said state law requires the six roads on the previous capital sales project must be completed before any new project funded by tax can begin.

"The attorney general argues that the people shouldn't get to vote on it and that we should have a break in the tax," said Schofield.

In response to these arguments Florence County argued the law gives county council the power to decide when the capital sales project tax can be voted on, and that nowhere in state law does it say that previous Penny Projects have to be completed before beginning new ones.

The Florence County attorneys also argued other counties in the state are conducting Penny Sales projects in the same manner as Florence – yet are not being forced into legal proceedings.

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