The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

April 3: South Carolina Tax Freedom Day … Almost

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Well, not tax freedom exactly, but it’s the day South Carolinians figuratively stop working for state and federal government, and start working for themselves. According to the Tax Foundation, a national policy group, this year, South Carolina observes Tax Freedom Day on April 3. Through a formula that factors in federal, state, and local taxes, the Tax Foundation annually calculates the day on which the average taxpayer has earned an amount equal to what they pay in all those taxes. The date, both nationally and for each state, fluctuates every year, based on income and taxes.

Nationally, Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 9 this year, which means that South Carolina taxpayers are a few days better off that the national average. This is one day later than last year’s Tax Freedom Day, but more than two weeks earlier than 2007’s date.  However, don’t start celebrating, says the Tax Foundation, because Tax Freedom Day does not count the deficit—even though deficits must eventually be financed. Since 1948, when Tax Freedom Day was first calculated, the difference between what governments are spending, and what they’re collecting, has never been as great as during 2009 and 2010.  If Americans were required to pay for all government spending this year (including the $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit) we would be working until May 17 before we earned enough to pay our taxes—an additional 38 days .

South Carolina has similar obligations that will ultimately come due.  Those include our own state deficit, taxpayer obligations to pay for corporate welfare deals, a billion dollars in debt to the feds for the Employment Insurance Commission, government growth that will persist even after the federal stimulus money disappears next year, and plenty more.   A significant financial burden not included in the Tax Foundation’s calculations for South Carolina is fees and fines, which collectively represent more than $7.7 billion out of the $21 billion state budget. That’s $1,540 for every man, woman, and child in South Carolina—so you’ll still be working just to pay our state government for another couple of weeks—or more.


Written by Robert Appel

March 30, 2010 at 3:05 pm

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  1. […] April 3: South Carolina Tax Freedom Day … Almost « The Palmetto … […]

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