Haley’s Gas Tax proposal from the State of the State last week

Here is an article that the SC Policy Council put out for your info:

Haley Road Plan: Higher Taxes, New Debt, Fuzzy Numbers

Gov. Nikki Haley’s plan to fix South Carolina’s decrepit roads and bridges and lower income taxes will ultimately do neither. The governor proposes to raise the gas tax 10 cents over three years, cut the income tax by 2 percent over ten years, and restructure the Department of Transportation in some unspecified way. In addition, Haley’s executive budget proposed decreasing the overall funds available for road maintenance and repair, and instead direct more than twice the amount to new construction and expansion projects.

The plan is based on contrived assumptions, impossible predictions, and misleading promises.
The governor proposes increasing the state gas tax by 10 cents over three years in exchange for a 2 percent decrease in income tax for all tax brackets. If it were implemented in one year, it would represent a 30 percent income tax cut. In reality, the cut would be phased over 10 years – that’s 2/10ths of a percent each year. In short, the gas tax increase will take effect in three years, but even if the tax cut implemented – and that’s up to the General Assembly each year, not the governor – the full effect wouldn’t be realized until the year 2025.

The result? Low income families will be pinched at the pump – particularly when gas prices go back up – with little relief at home. The reduction in income tax, by contrast, would be phased in over 10 years, and lawmakers would have to agree not to eliminate it each year for a decade.

I’m already seeing some “un oh” moments. How about you?

Click the link above to read much more analysis from SCPC.

Jim DeMint weighed in the other day in favor of the Governor’s plan. Kate Scanlin reporting at TheDailySignal.com:

Haley proposed doing “three things at once that will be a win-win-win for South Carolina.”

The first would be lowering the income tax over the next decade, which amounts to a 30 percent reduction. The lower 5 percent rate would take South Carolina’s nationwide income tax ranking from 38th to 13th.

While the income tax rate would go down, the gas tax would increase by 10 cents over the next three years. Haley said that the revenue generated from this tax will go “entirely toward improving our roads.”

The governor said that “when coupled with the 30 percent income tax cut, it still represents one of the largest tax cuts in South Carolina history.”

Haley also proposed doing away with the “legislatively elected transportation commission” to stop “short-sighted” wasteful spending.

“Simply shipping more money into the current bureaucracy would be like blasting water through a leaky hose,” she said. “Some of it would reach the right destination, but too much of it would end up in a mess on the ground. I won’t do it.”

The plan drew praise from South Carolina’s former senator, Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation.

“Gov. Haley continues to show why she’s a national conservative leader,” DeMint told The Daily Signal. “She deserves credit for promoting tax reform that provides opportunity for all South Carolinians, and rejecting favoritism by taking on the transportation bureaucracy. Reforms like this make our state more economically competitive with our neighbors. It’s a great step forward for South Carolina.”

And here is one more take on this, Cassie Cope at TheState.com reports:

But don’t start spending your tax savings yet.

The state’s most powerful politician all but declared Haley’s tax-swap proposal dead Thursday.

State Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said the loss in state income tax revenue —$1.8 billion in 2025 alone — would force huge cuts to other state programs, including education, public safety and mental health.

The Senate leader also said Haley’s proposed gas-tax increase, which would raise about $3 billion over 10 years, is not enough to address the state’s $15 billion deficit in the money it needs to fix roads and bridges over the next decade.

“We’re not raising enough to fix the problem, but yet we’re eroding our tax base, and that erosion is not a one-time erosion, it will be there year after year, after year,” said Leatherman, who also is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

January 25, 2015  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Roger Nutt proposes savings account for infrastructure needs

Felicia Kitzmiller reports at SHJ:

Spartanburg County Councilman Roger Nutt will propose an infrastructure savings account to accommodate unanticipated projects at Monday’s regular council meeting.

Nutt said he envisions an account the council would use to deposit about $200,000 to $250,000 of existing tax revenue annually. He said that money would be used to pay for needed road, stormwater and possible water and sewer improvements over the course of the year. The money would be used for “problem solving” projects and would be in addition to planned public works department projects paid for by the general fund.

“It’s always bothered me that in the past when anything came up we just threw up our hands and said we don’t have revenue,” Nutt said. “We don’t have anything that makes us proactive.”

Nutt pointed to the QuikTrip on Highway 9 and Snow Road in Greer as examples of places where underdeveloped infrastructure has hampered growth. He said county staff has been severely limited in options to respond.

Nutt said he also sees the infrastructure savings account as vital to the success of the county’s new Area Performance Planning initiative, which will attempt to classify the primary use of roads and implement land use regulations compatible with those uses. For example, Nutt said, if a developer wants to build a cluster of homes on a narrow farm road that is designated as residential, the county should have the funds available to expand that road to accommodate traffic associated with the permitted use.

Funding for the account would come “off the top” of existing tax revenues, Nutt said, and emphasized it would not mean a new or increased tax for county residents.

The infrastructure savings account would create a new demand on the county’s thinly spread revenues.

During the current fiscal year, though revenues improved slightly, county leaders cut $6.4 million from the funding requests of department heads. The year before, about $8 million had to be cut. During the budget process, County Administrator Katherine O’Neill noted department heads were not giving council a wish list, but truly asking for their needs. Some of those needs were unmet, at least in part because of dramatic reductions to the amount of money coming from the state through the local government fund.

More-than-anticipated revenues and frugal spending have allowed Spartanburg County to finish at least the last two fiscal years in the black. Surplus funds were put into the general fund and added to the fund balance or reserve fund. During the recession, the fund balance fell precipitously and hovered at the council’s mandated minimum of 10 percent of the previous year’s revenues, but it has increased to 13.5 percent. County Council Chairman Jeff Horton and O’Neill have said they would like to see it closer to 20 percent.

Nutt said meeting the county’s infrastructure needs is a “core government function” and should be prioritized in the budget. He also said he recognizes there are competing needs and would be flexible about the amount that is allocated to the fund each year.

“Any money would be a good start,” Nutt said. “I hear from a lot of people we tend to be reactive instead of proactive.”

Nutt also said he’s flexible about the type of projects that would qualify for these problem-solving funds and who would administer the funds, but in concept, he sees projects being proposed by county staff and possibly approved by council on an as-needed basis as funds are available.

The county public work’s department currently has a $21 million budget, the bulk of which is dedicated to roads and bridges. The county has two restricted-use revenue streams for infrastructure in the $25 road fee and gas tax allocations from the state.

Spartanburg County Council’s January meeting will begin with a work session at 2:30 p.m. Monday during which the council will talk about its strategic vision and priorities. Council will then have a closed-door session at 3:30 p.m. and committee meetings will begin at 4 p.m. The full council will convene at 5:30 p.m. All sessions will be in council chambers of the county administration building.

January 25, 2015  Tags:   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

And so it begins. Rick Perry’s speech Saturday Iowa Freedom Summit

January 24, 2015  Tags: ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

And so it begins. Ted Cruz’s speech Saturday Iowa Freedom Summit

January 24, 2015  Tags: ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

And so it begins. Scott Walker’s speech Saturday Iowa Freedom Summit

Zach Noble at The Blaze:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is holding up his “go big and go bold” attitude as something Republicans need to emulate in Washington.

In a speech to Iowa conservatives Saturday, Walker ran through a litany of changes he’s implemented that curtailed union power, relaxed teacher tenure laws, strengthened gun rights and restricted abortions. All resonated with a Freedom Summit crowd sizing up potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates like him.

“Our property taxes are lower today than they were four years ago,” he said. “How many governors can say that?”

January 24, 2015  Tags: ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Message from SCGOP Chair Matt Moore

Message from SCGOP Chair Matt Moore:

Dear Republican Friend –

This morning I officially announced my campaign for re-election as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Last year was the most successful year in our state party’s history. With you and our grassroots army leading the way, we set records in 2014 and again left South Carolina Democrats in the dust.

But there’s more work to be done.

Yes, we have built a state Republican Party that is the envy of the nation, but we have huge challenges ahead – including a Presidential Primary that could help decide the next President of the United States.

I am running for SCGOP Chairman because I want to keep building a 21st century Republican Party. We are a party that, with the right vision and leadership, will win elections for the next 100 years and continue to use 21st century innovations to make it happen.

Technology has fundamentally changed politics. Just ten years ago the iPhone didn’t exist. Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist. As Chairman, I’ve proudly given a voice to the iPhone generation. I’ve spoken up on the innovation economy – and on behalf of innovators and entrepreneurs across the state who want more economic freedom.

South Carolinians don’t shrink in the face of a challenge, so I’m ready to serve our party as Chairman for two more years.

I would be honored to have your support.

If you would like to endorse our campaign, please click here.

And for more information …

In Freedom,

Matt Moore
S.C. Republican Party

P.S. – Huge, early support for our Moore for Chairman campaign is building. Over 436 prior State Convention delegates, including delegates from all 46 counties have endorsed Matt Moore for Chairman. Note – There were 870 whole votes at the last convention.

96% of all current SCGOP County Chairmen and Executive Committeemen have endorsed Matt Moore for Chairman.

S.C.’s Republican National Committeeman and Committeewoman have both endorsed Matt Moore for Chairman.

A majority of all S.C. Federation of Republican Women County Presidents & organization leadership have endorsed Matt Moore for Chairman.

Please join our team by going to www.MattMoore.sc and signing up. And please look for more announcements to come in the next few days.

January 24, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Rep Quinn Proposes Bill To Cap Business License Fees

Kerry Wood at Citizens for a Free Market posts:

South Carolina Rep. Rick Quinn (R-Lexington County) announced today he’s filing new legislation to reform laws on business license fees and cap the amount cities and towns can charge. Quinn called the present system “grossly unfair and an outrageous assault on small business.”

Under the current system, cities and towns across South Carolina collect over $300 million annually in business license fees. Every business pays a unique license fee based on a percentage of the gross income of that business. Quinn says calculating fees on the basis of gross income is killing businesses that are surviving on little or no profits.

“When you pay a license fee based on gross rather than net income,” Quinn said, “small businesses that are losing money or barely making ends meet are being forced to pay what amounts to a tax on their business expenses.” And since the costs of state and federal taxes are included in the fee calculation, cities are literally taxing the money businesses use to pay taxes. Quinn says this is especially damaging to small start-up businesses that may need to operate a year or more before they see a profit.

“I’ve had numerous complaints from small businesses that operate on a very small profit margin,” Quinn said. “And yet their business license fee is based on their gross income, sometime 90 percent or more of which is needed to pay their bills.”

Quinn says some cities are now trying to collect fees from businesses that don’t even reside within city limits. “I’ve had several reports of city tax collectors approaching businesses from other counties who deliver goods and services in their city and attempting to collect fees on the products and services delivered.”

Also, Quinn says one of the most outrageous features of the present system is that cities and towns arbitrarily create multiple “classifications” for businesses, each with a different tax rate. The City of Columbia, S.C., for example, has 120 different classifications. “This system empowers city revenue collectors to soak certain businesses and give favored treatment to others,” Quinn said. “The time has come for fundamental reform.”

The reform legislation Quinn is filing this week, called “The Business License Tax Reform Act,” will contain the following reforms:

All businesses will be treated equally in the calculation of business license fees. Multiple “classifications” with different rate structures would no longer be allowed.
The license fees assessed will no longer be based on gross income. License fees will be based on annual net earnings or profits of the businesses, a number that is readily available on business tax returns.
There will be a cap of no more than $100 annually for business license fees.
Quinn says he fully expects local governments will fight his proposed reform and claim they need the revenue to cover the cost of city government. “My belief is city governments will do better financially if their businesses prosper, expand and hire more employees, who then become productive taxpayers,” Quinn said. “Soaking small businesses with regressive license fees kill jobs and undercuts economic development for the future.”

“Cities need to do a better job controlling their spending” Quinn said. “Today, cities all across South Carolina are increasing their spending faster than the growth of personal income for their citizens. That trend simply cannot continue.”

January 23, 2015  Tags:   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

AFP Invites YOU to an Online Discussion with Bill Whittle

I Love Bill Whittle. Almost as much as I love Michael Cannon. So to have both of them invite ME to an online forum scheduled for the same day … do stores hereabouts still sell those smelling salt things? I may be overwhelmed!

I’m thrilled to invite you to join Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Bill Whittle for an Insight to Action Lecture Series on Thursday, February 5th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

Bill Whittle is a conservative blogger and commentator, the host of PJ Media’s “Afterburner” series and is a frequent guest of the Fox News Channel, The Dennis Miller Show, and nationally syndicated conservative talk radio programs.

Please join us online for an unforgettable discussion with Bill Whittle on:

Reaching 20-somethings: how to message to millennials

Revamping the conservative message to win young hearts and minds

How to bring conservative messaging into the 21st century

Reframing the Constitution to the social media generation

Making the case for freedom to our youngest generation

We look forward to seeing you there!

For freedom,

Katherine Condon
Training Coordinator and Registrar

January 22, 2015  Tags:   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Hundreds of millions in new SC taxes based on nothing more than lies

We took a look at this Abbeville County lawsuit ruling back in November. In our post we pointed to these excellent reports:

Eva Moore at Freetimes

Rick Brundrett at TheNerve

And of course at the time everyone knew that this would be the excuse SC lawmakers needed to legislate MORE OF OUR MONEY FROM US!

Lobbyists in Columbia want us to pick up the tab for a huge new statewide property tax. Worse than that, they want taxpayers to roll over and accept the hundreds of millions in new taxes based on nothing more than lies.

Read this carefully. When you hear politicians in Columbia – even Republicans – tell you that a massive new property tax is “court ordered,” know with total certainty that they are lying. Not “kind of” lying, or telling a “little white lie.” Just straight up, ugly lying.

Before you understand the lie, you’ve got to know reality.

In 2014, the State Supreme Court finally ruled on a case (Abbeville et al) that has been dragging on for twenty years between eight school districts and the state. The Court ruled that the General Assembly failed to provide children in these poor, rural districts a “minimally adequate” education.

No surprise there.

What was a surprise, was the Court’s rejection of the idea that participating districts provide shameful educational quality because they don’t have enough money. To quote directly from the ruling,

“In our view, there is a clear disconnect between inputs and outputs of the education system.”

In other words, money isn’t the problem, and certainly isn’t the solution for failing districts. The Court scolded the suing districts harshly for “placing all the blame for the blighted state of education in their districts” on the state itself, and for “ignoring their own actions in helping to create devastating metrics and outcomes.”

To sum up almost 60 pages of ruling, these districts wasted money, didn’t do their job, shortchanged children, and then tried to blame everyone else.

Rather than taking the Court’s words to heart, and looking for real solutions to improve educational opportunities for children in rural districts, some of the biggest players in the state’s education establishment are looking to turn the misfortune of these children into more money and power.

Groups like the SC School Boards Association, and the SC Association of School Administrators (the former employer of Superintendent Molly Spearman) are working with some politicians to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling, and dishonestly tell taxpayers that the Court ordered sweeping changes to get districts more money.

Legislators need to stand up to these bullying, dishonest tactics, and point out the hard truth. South Carolina’s education system is broken, and is letting too many children slip through the cracks. Part of resolving this ongoing problem must be giving children options besides failing public schools. We already have a school choice program that is helping children with special learning needs. Why not expand it to include children whose only option is a failing public school? That’s a reasonable, feasible solution, and one that thoughtful lawmakers need to refocus on.

The money grubbers in the education establishment should be ashamed of themselves. They have failed in their task, and would rather wring more money out of hardworking taxpayers through lies than work to make things right for the children they are supposed to be educating.

January 22, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Don’t Bother Me on February 5th! I’m busy!!!!! I have an appointment with Michael Cannon!

The National Institute for Healthcare Management is hosting an online webinar on Thursday February 5, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM.

Nicholas Bagley, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, The Cato Institute

Another high-stakes challenge to the ACA is headed to the Supreme Court, and this time it’s a question of statutory interpretation: does the law as written permit tax credits to be issued in states that aren’t running their own exchanges? At risk is affordable coverage in as many as 37 states where millions of exchange shoppers may have to decide whether to pay the full, unsubsidized premiums or go uncovered. As we await oral arguments in March, legal experts are hotly debating the likely outcome, while many wonder what can be done to keep people covered.

This webinar will feature a point-counterpoint debate of the key issues in King v. Burwell:

the legal foundation of the case and predictions for the decision based on judicial perspectives and precedents

what a ruling for the plaintiff would mean for the viability of ACA, as well as for consumers, hospitals, health plans and states

ways Congress, states and HHS might try to ensure access to subsidized coverage, and whether these fixes seem feasible

DO YOU SEE THAT??? Michael Cannon, my favorite health care guru is gonna put the hurtin’ on some other guy!!!

CLICK HERE and you will see the “Register Now” Link so you can also attend this webinar.

January 22, 2015  Tags:   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments