Sales Tax History

History of the Sales Tax

In 1997 York County proposed the very first local option sales tax in the state to improve roads throughout the County. 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 Council decided to present the Capital Projects Sales and Use Tax to the citizens of York County to provide the necessary funds to accelerate State projects in our County.

Sales Tax Commission

By implementing the Capital Project Sales and Use Tax Programs, the County has improved safety, reduced congestion, and provided for future growth. To develop the Capital Projects Sales and Use Tax Program, the County appointed a Sales Tax Commission made up of representatives from all areas of the County. The 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. The charge of the commission was to identify and prioritize the roads to be improved.

The Commission took project requests from citizens throughout the County and compiled a list of projects that would be beneficial to all citizens of York County that could be accomplished in the projected tax collection budget. Once the list of projects was selected by the Sales Tax Commission, the voters of York County were given the opportunity to vote on each Program through a County-wide referendum. 

1997 Pennies for Progress

The first Capital Projects Sales and Use Tax Program also known as the 1997 Pennies for Progress Program consisted of 14 projects and was approved by the voters in 1997. Click on the Pennies-1 title for a list of the projects in the 1997 Pennies for Progress Program. The program's original budget of $99.255 million was funded by the sales tax. The County was able to acquire additional funds to finish these projects which have cost more than the original estimates due to rising costs of construction. These additional funds included State and Federal funds that would not have been available to York County without the 1997 Pennies for Progress Program.

York County was the first to pass this type of tax in South Carolina. Because of the vision of the County Council, York County has been able to leverage millions of dollars from the State Infrastructure Bank for other projects that benefit York County citizens including widening I-77, the improvements to the Hwy 161/US 21 Interchange, the SC 5 Extension in Cherokee County, and Dave Lyle Boulevard. These improvements help facilitate movement from I-85 to I-77 through York County.

2003 Pennies for Progress

The second Capital Sales and Use Tax Program was passed by the voters by 73% in 2003. The program also known as the 2003 Pennies for Progress Program consists of 25 projects with a budget of $173 million. Click Pennies-2 title for a list of the projects in the 2003 Pennies for Progress Program. The tax collections for the 2003 Program began after the maximum amount for the 1997 Program was collected. The 2003 was a continuation of the 1997 Program not in addition to the 1997 Program.

2011 (3rd) Pennies for Progress

The third Capital Sales and Use Tax Program was passed by the voters by 82% in 2011. The program, also known as the Pennies-3 program will consist of transportation projects identified by the citizens of York County. It is currently estimated that this program could produce approximately $161 million to fund additional roadway capacity and safety improvements throughout the County. Click Pennies-3 title for a list of the projects in the Pennies-3 Program. The tax collections for the Pennies-3 program began after the maximum amount for the 2003 program was collected. The Pennies-3 program is a continuation of the 1997 and 2003 programs and not in addition to these previous programs.

Tax Collection 

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 done unless additional non-sales tax revenues could be identified.

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. Had neither of the Pennies for Progress Programs been passed many of these roadway projects would probably not have been completed in the foreseeable future.