During his closing statement against former Gov. Mark Sanford in this week’s GOP runoff debate in South Carolina’s first congressional district, former Charleston County councilman brought up a project called the “Greenbelt Bank.”
According to Bostic this “innovative” deal – which he claimed was funded exclusively with “private donations” – was an example of his ability to “unify conservatives around conservative ideas,” a theme he repeated ad nauseam during the debate.
Bostic also mentions the Greenbelt Bank on his website.
“Curtis authored and then fought for the adoption of Charleston’s now widely popular Greenbelt Bank,” his webpage, StopSpending.com states. “To date this innovative and highly successful program has garnered over $59 million dollars to facilitate the purchase of over 15,000 acres in parks and greenspace without using tax payer dollars.”
Here’s the problem …
A quick look at the program’s website reveals the extent to which Bostic’s “Greenbelt Bank” has been reliant on taxpayer revenue.
“The program is funded by the Transportation Sales Tax, which was approved in a county-wide referendum on Nov. 2, 2004,” the website states. “It is expected to raise $1.3 billion for Charleston County over 25 years. Of the $1.3 billion, $221 million is designated for Greenbelts.”
Not only that, the program is administered by a Charleston County bureaucrat whose salary and benefits are also funded by taxpayers.
Hmmm … so which website is correct? Bostic’s campaign site? Or the official Greenbelt site?
Let’s consult the official record, shall we?
According to the full text of the Charleston County ordinance – the one Bostic “authored and fought for” – the answer is clear. Proceeds from the tax hike are specifically earmarked “for financing the costs of greenbelts” with the “amount of the maximum total funds to be collected which shall be expended for these projects and purposes shall be no more than $221,571,200.”
So is Bostic lying?
In a word, “yes.”
Perhaps more damaging to his candidacy, Bostic’s support of the Greenbelt bank makes it abundantly clear that he was on board with Charleston County’s 2004 tax hike. During the debate against Sanford, Bostic countered claims that he supported excessive growth as a councilman by saying voters approved much of that new money and that his job was simply to “make sure it was spent efficiently.”
Clearly he was a proponent of the tax hike, too.