Legislation allowing special purpose districts with unelected governing bodies to continue collecting taxes at their existing rates corrected the problem of taxation without representation previously identified by this court. The General Assembly exercised its own authority to impose the taxes based on a logical starting point, and it was a decision made by an elected body whose members are the direct representatives of the people.
We affirm the circuit court’s rejection of appellant’s challenge to the constitutionality of S.C. Code Ann. § 6-11-271.
Under § 6-11-271(E)(1), the unelected governing bodies of special purpose districts that lie within a single county have some input into any modification of millage rates. However, any such changes can only be approved by the elected governing body of the county in which the district is located.
Moreover, taxpayers within districts receiving funding under § 6-11-271 have additional means of recourse if they disagree with any modifications made in millage. Taxpayers may seek a referendum on whether to dissolve a special purpose district or to establish an elected board to govern a special purpose district.
Appellant failed to prove § 6-11-271 violates the constitutional prohibition on taxation without representation.
Appellant also failed to prove § 6-11-271 is special legislation. The special purpose districts with unelected governing boards affected by Weaver v. Recreation District, 328 S.C. 83, 492 S.E.2d 79 (1997), are clearly a proper class subject to the enactment of uniformly applicable general legislation. This general legislation affects all special purpose districts with unelected governing bodies throughout the state, so the legislation is applied uniformly to a valid class of entities. As a result, § 6-11-271 is not impermissible special legislation.
Finally, Home Rule does not restrict the power of the General Assembly to enact general laws governing existing special purpose districts.
Weaver v. Recreation District (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-063-20, 14 pp.) (Donald Beatty, C.J.) Appealed from the Circuit Court in Richland County (L. Casey Manning, J.) John Schmidt and Melissa Copeland for appellant; Charles McDonald, William Dillard and Bradley Farrar for respondents. S.C. S. Ct.