Continued Funding for Higher Education

 Laurens County Council gave 1st reading approval this week to continuing a one mill tax levy for funding Higher Education in the county. For several years, the revenue from this one mill is split with 90% going to Piedmont Tech and 10% going to the University of South Carolina at Union for its Laurens County operations. The annual ordinance authorizing this Higher Education Tax Mill has indicated it is for ‘maintenance of facilities.’

  Since USC-U is now in the process of moving its Laurens County operations from the Higher Education Center to a shopping center on North Harper in Laurens, County Councilman Joe Wood suggested that USC-U should no longer receive 10% of this revenue. At Tuesday night’s meeting, he continued voicing further opposition to giving money to USC because of speaker fees USC has paid for political and television celebrities at the main campus in Columbia. Referring to one of these, Wood said again this week “If they can pay Jenny Sanford $50,000 for a fifteen minute speech, they do not need our ten per cent.” Wood said “this issue is not about Clemson versus USC, it is not about football, it is about our taxpayer’s money.”

  With the language of this year’s Higher Education Mill authorization change to delete reference to the Higher Education Center, County Council gave 1st reading approval this week with only Councilmen Joe Wood and Ted Nash voting no. Councilman Keith Tollison said that before the 2nd reading he will do so research on the matter and could change his vote if he’s not satisfied with what he finds out.