Fellow Beaufort County Resident:
In the over 14 years I have served in the South Carolina Senate, I have never voted for a tax increase. However, despite this, I ask you to vote in November’s election for a one-penny sales tax in Beaufort County, a/k/a, the Greenspace Penny, for a period of two years, to raise $100 million to purchase and preserve greenspace in the county.
Visit https://www.voteyesforgreenspace.com for specifics about the Greenspace Penny, but here are a few of the more important ones: 1) the penny tax must stop after two years; 2) the proceeds must be used for to purchase greenspace that will remain that way in perpetuity; 3) 40 percent of the greenspace penny will be paid by visitors to Beaufort County; and 4) numerous safeguards ensure transparency and unbiased greenspace purchases.
Beaufort County has been a leader in conservation and has taken some smaller-scale steps to protect one of the largest intact coastal ecosystems on the East Coast. But despite this, or perhaps because of it, the county is still among the fastest growing counties in South Carolina and has been for years. If the development densities already approved by local governments come to fruition – as they rapidly are – the number of rooftops in the county will more than double.
This will destroy our county’s unique quality of life and sitting back and doing nothing in the face of that ruination is simply not acceptable. Look at what happened to the Chesapeake Bay: Maryland and Virginia sat idly by as unchecked development stripped the bay of its natural defenses to runoff pollutants, essentially destroying an entire ecosystem. Letting the same thing happen in Beaufort County would be both immoral and economically stupid.
I wish there was another way of tackling this threat, but there isn’t. The development densities already on the books cannot be taken away without an action for damages by landowners. I wish local governments hadn’t approved such unsustainable densities, but they did. There is still time to preserve our unique sense of place in Beaufort County, but time is running out and approval of the Greenspace Penny is critical.
Senator Tom Davis