The easy solution suggested for the use of the penny tax surplus is clearly to pay off Greenwood County's debt. However, this is not what the taxpayers were told it would be used for.
County residents should be aware that in the future, this solution provides a precedent for a back door method to raise funds for projects not voted on. By inflating the estimates on project budgets to ensure a surplus, unscrupulous politicians could fund projects, or pay off debts, not approved by the public. We have seen many examples of underhanded activities by elected and appointed public servants in recent years.
I suggest two possible solutions for the disposal of surplus tax money collected for specific projects:
Have a referendum for a specified use of the surplus or refund the money to the taxpayers.
To overcome the problem of identifying the original taxpayers, create a negative penny tax that will deduct 1 percent from the same items the original tax covered. This will create a taxpayer base virtually the same as those who have already paid the tax. The negative tax would be stopped as soon as the surplus is returned.