Pennies For Progress FAQs

The County works closely with the SCDOT, RFATS (Rock Hill/Fort Mill Regional Transportation group) and our State/Federal elected officials. Although the County has maximized the amount of State/Federal dollars received, the simple fact is that the State System is underfunded and there is no legislative relief in sight. To preserve the quality of life in York County, it is imperative that safe and efficient roadways also exist on the State System. Therefore, the County is continuing its efforts through the Pennies for Progress Program to help fund over $500 million in state maintained roadway improvements and feel confident that we can continue to use this funding as leverage to accelerate state roadway projects in our County.

The motoring public does not make a distinction between State and County Roads. They only know the route they are traveling on is congested and/or unsafe. If State Roads are not improved, vehicles then move to County and Local roads thereby in many cases creating "cut-through" traffic in our neighborhoods.

Q: How long will we pay this tax?
A: Since the tax for the 1997 and 2003 Programs  has expired, the tax for the 2011 Program is now being collected. The 2011 tax will be collected for no more than seven years and is currently set to expire on April 30, 2018. This expiration date was submitted to the Department of Revenue as the County's expected expiration and we are awaiting their confirmation.

Q: What happens if the 2011 Pennies for Progress Program tax generates more than the $160 million needed for the road projects?
A: The law that governs the Capital Projects Sales and Use Tax requires the tax remain for a specific period of time. In the event the revenues for this predetermined time period exceed that estimated revenues for the program the excess funding would first be used to complete projects from the sales tax program. If there is still money left the second option for the excess funding would be to fund projects from any new sales tax programs that may have been implemented. If there is still excess funding after these options it would go towards the County's general fund.

Q: What happens if the 2011 Pennies for Progress Program tax does not generate enough money for the road projects within seven years?
A: No matter what, the Capital Projects Sales Tax will end in seven years. The projects listed are in priority order. Any work not funded at the end of seven years would not be completed. Other funding sources would have to be identified.

Q: Can the money generated by the tax be spent on anything other than roads listed on the ballot?
A: No. This is a county tax and not a state tax. As a result, all of the money collected will stay in York County and can only be spent on the road projects listed on the ballot.

Q: What if I don’t trust politicians? Should I suspect that they will try to find some way to keep collecting the penny?
A: No, you can have confidence that it just cannot be done. No elected official, or any governing body can legally take any action that could extend this tax.

Q: Who determined what projects will get done?
A: A citizen’s commission made up of residents from Clover/Lake Wylie, Fort Mill/Tega Cay, Rock Hill and York developed the proposed list of projects.

Q: Is this something the County Council can do regardless of the outcome of any public vote?
A: No. The only way that this penny for roads program can be established is through a public referendum, approved by York County voters. The County Council's only authority is to put the question on the ballot to give everyone a chance to decide if the projects should be funded.

Q: Who will pay the tax?
A: Anyone purchasing goods in York County will help fund the road work. A significant portion of the money will come from people who live outside York County. People from other places who visit, work or purchase goods and services in York County will help to contribute money to our roads through the tax. In the Pennies-3 Program a change in the state law exempted non-prepared foods from the one percent sales tax.

Q: Will this increase the amount of sales tax I have to pay on large ticket items such as an automobile?
A: No, this will have no impact on any item that is currently covered by the maximum sales tax cap of $300.

Q: Will this change the way any other exempt sales items are taxed?
A: No, if the item is currently exempt from sales tax, it will continue to be exempt.

Q: What happens if the tax doesn’t pass?
A: Many of these projects won't be completed in the foreseeable future, and roads will continue to be congested and unsafe.