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QUESTIONS REMAIN REGARDING VOTING IRREGULARITIES, CAMPAIGN TACTICS

Voters in Richland County, S.C. have approved a $1.2 billion tax hike earmarked for all sorts of questionable boondoggles – including work on the University of South Carolina’s spectacularly failed “Innovista” project.

This botched speculative real estate deal continues to receive state tax dollars, as well as special tax breaks from the City of Columbia.  Now it will receive a cut of county revenue, too – all despite the fact that it has failed miserably to live up to its promise of “thousands of new high-paying jobs.”

The regressive Richland County sales tax increase – which will be assessed for the next 22 years – received 74,029 votes.  Meanwhile 64,684 people voted against the measure – although we’ll never know what the margin would have been had there not been widespread failure of voting machines in key anti-tax districts.  These malfunctions forced wait times of more than four hours in some locations – causing an unknown number of voters in anti-tax precincts to give up their bid to cast ballots.

In addition to this curious rash of voting machine failures, supporters of the tax hike have been accused of violating restrictions regarding their proximity to polling places – with several supporters (including Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin) being accused of illegally soliciting support for the measure.

A similar measure failed two years ago, prompting Benjamin to insist on a new fee for City of Columbia energy customers.

Think that fee will be dropped now?

Don’t be ridiculous …

Incidentally, this tax hike was passed in no small measure thanks to a $50,000 “education” campaign funded by … you guessed it … Richland County taxpayers.

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