A proposal to pull millions of state dollars from local governments -- almost $5 million from York County alone -- irritates some area leaders who say lawmakers are dumping tough decisions on them.
"It doesn't make a lot of sense for the state to cut another government's budget, because all that's doing is just passing the decision on where to cut," York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz said. "It's not logical."
Statewide, some county government leaders claim they'll be forced to slash police, fire and medical workers if the state carries through with plans to take about $122 million historically earmarked for counties and cities as legislators try to balance the state budget.
More than 100 county council members and administrators from around the state gathered at the Statehouse on Wednesday to protest a House Ways and Means Committee proposal to slash $122 million from its aid to local governments.
Greg Pearce, president of the South Carolina Association of Counties, said county leaders already are reeling under the pressure of tax increase limits the state imposed a couple of years ago and the recession.
In York County, the losses would total nearly $5 million, Motz said, though he said it's too early in the budgeting process to pinpoint where the county would cut.
"It's going to impact us heavily," he said. "Financially, the county is itself in good condition. But to absorb $5 million in one whack is a heavy, heavy load."
Should the state follow through with the plan, Chester County would lose more than $800,000, said Supervisor Carlisle Roddey.
"That's a heck of a leak," he said.
But even if the state slices money for local governments, both Roddey and Motz said they wouldn't support raising taxes in this tough economic climate.
"They're going to force us to be the bad boys," Roddey said. "I can't, in all good conscience, raise taxes on anybody in this county because the state is saying, 'No, we're going to make y'all do that.' I can't do that."