Letters to the Editor

For most part, Act 388 accomplishes its goals

In the years since 2006, when the legislature passed Act 388, I have seen endless editorials calling for repeal of the act.

The act has only one flaw, the "point of sale" provision that mandates a reassessment to market value upon transfer of ownership. This reassessment has resulted in the doubling and more of property taxes on a transfer of property between relatives in coastal communities, and frequently, a forced sale of the property because of inability to pay the tax.

Act 388 did the following positive things:

  • Provided for a constitutional referendum on limiting increases in property assessment to 15 percent in the five-year reassessment cycle for all properties. The amendment passed by a vote of 69 percent.
  • Limited annual property tax rate increases to the consumer price index plus the percentage population increase.
  • Substituted a 1 percent sales tax for the school operating portion of the property tax bill for owner-occupied homes. In many counties, this resulted in a 50 percent reduction in property taxes.
  • One charge against the act baffles me. It is the claim that the act shifts the tax burden from 4 percent (owner-occupied) property, to 6 percent (business and rental) property. Because all properties pay the same tax rate, and the 1 percent sales tax replaces the school operating portion, how is it possible that there is a shift in the burden? Owners of 4 percent properties are still taxed for the other components of the property tax, the major components being county operating, county debt and school debt.

    David C. CannonEdisto Beach