Political News

Representative Fawn Pedalino's response to school tax


In response to Senator Johnson’s press release on the 1% school debt tax, I think it’s important to remember that a lot of talk is always given, but the actions to back it up are always lacking. To prove that I just have some follow up questions and concerns for Senator Johnson, that I would have asked him if we had met to discuss implementing new legislation for a tax on the constituents of Clarendon County. However, that opportunity wasn’t given to me, as he just pushed through legislation without ever taking the time to meet and hear my opinion.

-Why did he immediately file legislation instead of talking to his constituents on how they feel about continuing this tax?

-If this is as detrimental as our Senator is making this tax seem, has he implemented this tax legislation to any of the other counties that he represents as well? (Sumter, Calhoun, Orangeburg)

-The school board that is asking for this tax (appointed by Senator Johnson), is the same school board that just decided at their last meeting to put taxpayers liable for an 18-month contract buyout if our elected school board wants to replace our Superintendent, when it was only 6-months. They also extended his contract to the 2027-2028 school year, so that we are guaranteed to have to pay the
buyout during their first term as an elected board or keep things as they have been. Does that seem like they are managing our funds smart even after everything that came out during the IG’s investigation?

-I asked him to discuss putting in this legislation and talking with taxpayers to see if they wanted this. I even mentioned implementing it as a referendum for our constituents to vote themselves. They are
given the voice to vote for us as their representatives, why can’t we let them continue to voice their opinions on a tax that directly affects them?

-Why not have a public forum where the school district can explain why this is so detrimental and to show receipts and invoices for the projects done thus far and how they have supported the school district, etc.?

-I’ve noticed that the talking points for those who want to implement taxes in Clarendon always state
that outsiders who spend their money in Clarendon County are who really foot the bill. I’d like to see a
breakdown of the percentage that is spent by outsider’s vs those of us who spend money in Clarendon
County daily. I would also like to know how this saves us from the millage being raised as they claim.
They raised it to the maximum allowance during consolidation and they will do it again with the excuse
that this tax only covers school debt and capital improvements and can’t be used for the budget. They never actually follow what they say.

-I wonder if the real disappointment with me as stated in his press release, is the fact that I stand in his way of taking advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers/constituents. If I weren’t here to stop legislation that directly affects those living in Clarendon County, what else would be implemented? As he mentioned,
you wouldn’t have even known the difference if I didn’t bring awareness, as you have been paying this for 20 years already. Is that how leadership should move? Don’t taxpayers deserve to choose if they continue to pay the amount of taxes they have been without someone choosing for them?