The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

S.C. No Conservative Paradise

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Great article from NRO on the South Carolina political scene. Here’s a snippet:

South Carolina is deemed a heavily Republican state … But it is not a conservative’s paradise; state politics are often dominated by a powerful political establishment that likes to take care of its own and dish out favors to its friends. The governorship is relatively weak and the legislature is strong; Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics cites the anecdote of Sanford, a true fiscal conservative, issuing 106 vetoes on spending he deemed excessive and the legislature overriding 105 of them.

To take another example, South Carolina has a sales tax of 6 percent — but numerous exemptions have been written into the law over the years, reflecting the whims of state lawmakers, meaning there is a sales tax on clothing, cars, and computers, but not on services such as haircuts or car repairs. The exemptions are estimated to amount to $2.65 billion annually. On paper, you have the unusual circumstance of conservative activists calling for the end of special exemptions and thus, technically, a tax increase, but the sense is that the current Byzantine system of exemptions amounts to a tax on the politically powerless. According to state senator Tom Davis, a reform-minded Republican from Beaufort County, removing all of the exemptions and applying the tax evenly could lower the rate to 2.4 percent.

Finally, someone at the national level has done a little bit of homework on just how the game is played here in South Carolina. As for lowering that sales tax, read more here.


Written by Jameson Taylor

June 11, 2010 at 8:45 am

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