Musco column: VTIL: Much of town’s budget would be taxes we already pay

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Guest columnist Domenic Musco is vice president of operations at Voters for a Town of Indian Land.

A huge portion of our town’s budget will come from tax money we already pay today.
Every time money is spent in Indian Land, customers are charged a local option sales tax. That money is distributed between Lancaster County and the cities of Lancaster, Heath Springs, Kershaw and Van Wyck.
Today, we do not have a claim on our own tax dollars. However, that changes when we become a town.
What is the local option sales tax?
The local option sales tax, commonly referred to as LOST, is defined as “a general sales and use tax on all sales at retail (with a few exceptions) taxable under the state sales and use tax.” The tax is implemented by a voter referendum and is in place in Lancaster County today.
How does LOST work?
Seventy-one percent of the LOST funds collected in the county go to a property tax rollback and 29 percent to a county/municipal revenue fund. The rollback is distributed to the county and active municipalities as revenue to defer the costs of property tax to homeowners in the county or municipalities.
How are the municipal pieces allocated?
Any active municipality in the county (Lancaster, Heath Springs, Kershaw, Van Wyck) receives funds based on their population and on the location of the point of sale where the tax originated.
How does this impact Indian Land, and how does it relate to incorporation?
Today, Indian Land is the largest population center in Lancaster County and the fastest-growing area in the county. This means much of this tax revenue originates here, where the most people live and the most spending is taking place.
Because we are not a municipality, our tax dollars are distributed to Lancaster County and the other municipalities in the county. We get zero of our tax dollars allocated back to our area directly.
When Indian Land incorporates, we will begin receiving these funds immediately. The approved budget in the incorporation proposal allocated a conservative $1.8 million from LOST. Recent newspaper articles have it over $2 million already.
These are tax dollars we are already paying – not a new tax. The only thing that will change is where the money is spent.
And just think, all those new Indian Land shopping centers haven’t even opened yet.
By utilizing existing revenue, Indian Land can incorporate without a tax burden as high as neighboring communities. This gives us the control and voice we need without the high taxes, keeping Indian Land an attractive place to work and raise a family, but allowing us to address the challenges we see around us.
Please join us and vote “yes” for a Town of Indian Land.