Library and sales tax
Significant support for the proposed 16% increase in sales tax has come from supporters of a bigger library for Waccamaw Neck than the 17,700-square-foot/$3.5 million one already on the way; that new library will be about five times the size of the current Waccamaw Library.
Georgetown County currently has four libraries – Georgetown (main library), Andrews (new $1.5 million+), Carvers Bay (new $1.5 million+), and Waccamaw; the new Waccamaw Library ($3.5 million) plus the other three have/will have a value of at least $10 million. The question then becomes: How much should we invest in libraries? The sales tax commission says that we need to spend $11.31 million on new libraries to add to those above; that would bring the total library investment to over $21 million.
One upstate county with a population of over 68,000 (8,000 larger than Georgetown) completed a new 43,900-square-foot library in 2010 for $10 million. The library system there has two small satellite libraries, one of which is owned by a town and not the county, with the total investment for the system being just over $10 million. The main library serves the entire county and provides superior services.
I'm glad we have good libraries, and the desire to improve them. Since Ben Franklin started public libraries over two hundred years ago, we've come a long way. But, based on the facts that I have seen and heard, my opinion is that $11.31 million more for new libraries in Georgetown now is way too much.
At the very least, it needs a lot more study; the early proposals this year by county staff put before the sales tax commission called for spending $19.5 million, not the $11.31 million noted above.
In response to Bill Hills
A regular GOP operative in the Georgetown Times letter to the editor section named Bill Hills always reminds of this phrase: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
He [recently] wrote yet another brain cell evaporating letter, this on the topic of the 1% sales tax. Oh, and his extreme Republican views are plastered all over the page.
“I urge you once more to not put the important decision of a new 1% tax into the hands of a largely uninformed public.”
Really. I suppose then it was quite all right to vote for Nikki Haley then, seeing the people were so informed about her, right? How about voting for Kevin Ryan? Were the people informed enough about him?
I think Mr. Hills is just naive on this issue. To implicate other people to be similar to him is absurd.
Why, it’s these same Republicans who stood behind the vote results of Bush in 2000. The same people who say there should have been no recount in Wisconsin and, finally, the same people who say Scott Walker won fair and square (when we all know he didn’t).
But, as Mr. Hills tries to nationalize the issue, the above is also besides the point.
The real issue is giving the people a say on whether they should apply a 1% sales tax to generate funding for infrastructure and other projects in Georgetown County.
Now, we all know a lot of people are focusing on the port as priority. We all should be. That’s why I find it shameful for Mr. Hills to say this below.
There are situations where certain decisions should not be left up to the public. This is one of those times and this is one of those decisions.
Well, Mr. Hills, this isn’t Congress. This is the Georgetown County Council. If you knew the structure of the government you are writing about, you’d know it’s quite regular to put referendums on ballots to allow the people to either vote for or against what is being proposed. It just seems to me you’re afraid of those people speaking out.
It’s not about elected officials escaping responsibility, either. Matter of fact, it places more on them because when the result of the vote — or mandate — is in favor of the proposal it forces them to act.
And people, voters, pay attention to that.
To the credit of Mr. Hills, he says we need to focus on the port. I agree. But seeing the inaction for more than a decade leads me to think this is one step — a tool — to generate funds to dredge our port.
And the public — Georgetown County locals — are very informed on that issue.
“You didn’t build that”
It was no surprise that Fox News would misrepresent what Obama was talking about when he said “You didn’t build that.”
It was also no surprise that the Romney campaign would create an ad to focus on this. It turned out that the self-reliant businessman featured in Romney’s ads was the beneficiary of large government loans and contracts.
What everyone seems to have overlooked is that Romney himself amassed his great fortune largely with the help of Uncle Sam. The U.S. tax code doesn't merely allow Romney to pay a lower tax rate than many middle class families. Without the public subsidy that is the corporate debt interest deduction, there might never have been a Bain Capital
Companies can finance investment from either debt or equity. But profit on an investment financed with equity — stock issued by the company — is taxed. In contrast, if the project is financed with debt, then only the profit after interest payments are made is taxed. This means that debt-financed investments are cheaper than equity.
The same interest deduction applies whether debt is taken on for investing in a new factory or just to pay investors.
Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His Bain Capital was the first large private equity firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company.
So remember, Mitt Romney didn’t build that. He had a lot of help from the American taxpayer. Just don’t expect him to say “Thanks.”
Tom E Stickler
A recent opinion published in the July 29th edition of the Sun News, written in response to an article than ran in the Georgetown Times and Waccamaw Times on July 6th, offered the author’s thoughts on the nationwide trend toward use of hospital medicine specialists to provide care for hospital inpatients.
As a local family physician whose practice has recently transitioned outpatient-only, I wanted to share my perspective.
Medicine has become much more specialized over the past few years, and many healthcare needs once managed in the hospital are now managed in the outpatient arena. As a result many physicians — including primary care doctors — no longer see patients in the hospital, and instead focus on their office practice and refer their patients to hospitalists for their inpatient care.
This is really no different than when we refer a patient to a cardiologist or any other specialist. It certainly does not constitute an “abandonment” of the patient as the letter writer alleges.
By having the hospitalist take care of the patient in the hospital, the patient has access to a physician who is physically present in the hospital throughout the day, working in collaboration with other specialists and the patient’s primary care physician, and can respond more quickly than I can from my office. Likewise, by not having to round at the hospital, my partners and I are able to open the office earlier, allowing more focused time to take care of our office patients. This should translate into those office patients not requiring hospitalization as often.
Patient satisfaction surveys show that Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Waccamaw Community Hospital patients are as happy now with the care provided by Eagle Hospitalists as they were when their inpatient care was provided by their primary care physician. With 80% or more of my daily patient contacts being outpatients, it makes sense that I would try to focus on improving their care if there was a good resource available to take care of the other 2-4 patients per day I would have seen in the hospital.
The majority of primary care physicians nationwide have either transitioned their practice to outpatient-only, or have been outpatient-only their entire practice. All of the hospitals in the area, including Grand Strand, McLeod, MUSC, and Roper, utilize hospitalists, as do all of the nation’s top hospitals as ranked by US News and World Reports.
Eagle Hospitalist Physicians have been practicing at Waccamaw Community Hospital and Georgetown Memorial Hospital for over five years now. Over that time, they have provided quality care to thousands of patients. Any medications they prescribe or procedures they recommend, they do in collaboration with the patient. Eagle Hospitalists are all board-certified in either Internal Medicine or Family Medicine, and are vetted through the same credentialing process as all other physicians practicing at our hospitals.
I have worked alongside most of the hospitalists over the past five years, and trust them to take good care of my patients. I am not “abdicating any and all responsibility for the welfare of my patients” by allowing the hospitalists to care for them in the hospital, and in fact will ask my patients to let me know if they have any concerns about the care the hospitalists provide.
H Grady Adkins, MD
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