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Not running for office, again

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POSTED: June 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Some months ago in this space I wrote that I wasn’t running for political office - then offered up a list of things I'd do were I to run.

Which I'm not. Ever.

But consider this a variation on that same theme, since I believe these are just a few of the things the state needs to work on and the sooner, the better.

1. It can start by adopting a statewide impact fee to be assessed on new development, something my home state of South Carolina is reportedly considering.

Growth is stretching resources - natural and man made - thin. Our roads are badly in need of repair, we can’t build schools fast enough to keep up with the booming population and the growing number of newcomers puts more demands on local government's ability to provide to provide police and fire protection, not to mention essential services such as water, sewer and garbage. What happens when that happens isn't hard to figure out. In short, somebody's got to pay for those additional services. In Georgia, it's longtime taxpayers who are basically helping subsidize the increase in services.

Charging impact fees on each new home built should ease some of that burden.

Yet it's not just about taxes. Our environment is also being stressed by growth.

The need for more parking spaces, driveways, turn lanes and so on means more impervious surfaces - which means more stormwater runoff problems. Similarly, more cars and trucks means more air pollution. And neither of those issues begin to hint at the ongoing destruction of wildlife habitat.

I don't know how you figure up an impact fee to take what we're doing to the environment into account, but it's long past the time we started working on the math.

2. Speaking of taxes: Property tax reform floundered during the last session of the General Assembly. If that happens again, voters should oust each and every member of that body and start over.

The solution, by the way, doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

You take fair market value out of the mix and tax people on what they paid for their home when they bought it. Period, end of story.

If government needs more money, and there may be perfectly good reason for needing it, by the way, like the rising cost of gas, let its leaders come to the folks who are footing the bills and explain why a hike in the millage rate is justified.

That shouldn't be too hard, should it?

 

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