I applaud the Pickens County Council and school board for their hard work the last few years, in these tough budget times. Now it is time for our state representatives to do their part.
County residents pay sales taxes to the state. By state law 4.5% of the previous year state revenue is supposed to be given back to the county governments, in what is called the Local Government Fund (LGF).
Even though county residents have diligently continued to pay all their state taxes, for years less than 4.5% has been given back. Since 2008 the shortfall to Pickens County has been $9.3 million. Given the county budget is only $54 million, this is straining county services like law enforcement, roads and the Public Service Commission.
The legislature, through its infrastructure bank, is instead sending the money to favored counties including Florence, Charleston and Greenville.
The Education Funding Act (EFA) is another state program the legislature is underfunding. By law the EFA program must give school districts $2,801 per student. The legislature is only funding $2,200. Again we are paying our taxes, but not getting back what the law says. That’s an $8.8 million short-fall from the state to Pickens County schools.
Pickens County pays its fair share of state taxes. It is the responsibility of our state representatives to make sure we are treated fairly. Instead of trying to run the local school board, why don’t they fix this which is sitting right in their lap?