Letters to the Editor

Second-home owners getting shafted in S.C.

When we bought a second home in Sea Pines in the mid-80s, the property tax rate for non-residents was 150 percent of the resident rate. Although this was certainly unfair, it was marginally acceptable.

Then, about five years ago, the state legislature got a real neat idea ... education taxes are too high so let's have the non-residents pay for them as well, in addition to the extra 50 percent they already pay.

Having the people who don't use educational services pay for local public school operating expenses is quite innovative. This has resulted in our property taxes being 300 percent of our neighbors, whose villa is identical in size and layout to ours. Yes, that is three times: $3,600 vs. $1,200.

The unfairness of this boggles the mind. And it reduces real estate demand.

The latest is that Sea Pines property owners may vote to form a special tax district to pay for dredging costs. Mind you, not every owner in Sea Pines gets a vote. The second-home owners -- yes, those same folks who pay three times the taxes that residents pay -- don't get a vote.

What's next for us second class citizens?

Joel Jordan

Hilton Head Island

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