An overwhelming number of towns and cities in South Carolina do a remarkably cost-effective job of bringing basic, grass-roots services and a variety of high-quality-of-life destinations to the citizens of our state. This is particularly impressive when you consider that our cities are subject to the commands handed down from federal, state and county governments, as well as many inefficient special-purpose districts, all requiring cities and towns to “do as we are told” if you want a small portion of your tax dollars and fees funneled back to you, or if you want to be able to use public facilities that your taxes helped build and continue to pay for.
South Carolina cities and towns operate on budgets that have very few ways to raise revenue (thanks to state laws) and must smile, bend over and say “Thank you sir . . . may I have another?” to all other levels of government, as we are forced to accept any and all regulations from these other levels of government, regardless of how it impacts our citizens or budget . . . and there is no recourse. State law has insured that, short of a lawsuit, cities have no choice but to bow to the decisions of other governments, no matter how bad. Past lawsuits have been attempted, but ultimately thrown out by judges that are appointed by the same state politicians that hand down the mandates.
The most obvious case of this control and taxation gone rampant is Greenville County government. Over the past 15 years or so, Greenville County Council has instituted double taxation on all municipal residents for use of the county detention center and double taxation to municipalities for use of the county landfill.