The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Best/Worst 2010 Launches at SCPC

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SCPC has just published its annual Best/Worst review of legislation introduced in the General Assembly in 2010. The report is the second in an annual series. As you’ll see, this year was arguably worse than last. Among the worst of the worst passed in 2010:

(For more of the worst of the worst, see this brief recap.)

Here, we just want to say a word about how to use Best/Worst. In addition to being a nifty Christmas present for your local legislator or tea party activist, it’s meant to be a quick reference guide for concerned citizens, the media, and lawmakers interested in a concise review of policy developments in specific areas, such as the state budget or small business. The guide is not meant to be comprehensive, but it does provide a snapshot of what lawmakers are thinking, and for that reason also serves as an indicator of what bills might be introduced in 2011 and beyond.

As far as that goes, we don’t make any predictions in Best/Worst, but pre-filing for 2011 will begin soon. Some of the ideas likely to be introduced as legislation include:

School choice reform. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that if school choice and student-centered funding legislation does not pass during the 119th General Assembly, it never will. Everyone who is anyone – from the governor to the secretary of education – seems to support school choice. With a lingering recession, it’s also a good time for the public school system to adopt money-saving strategies – like school choice and student-centered funding – that will help all students excel.

Fair Tax. This proposal didn’t fare well at the hands of the Tax Realignment Commission. As required by its authorizing statute, the commission heard testimony on the Fair Tax, but has pretty much dismissed it as a viable reform. In fact, the commission is looking to lower the sales tax and instead raise a myriad of other taxes, including imposing a $25-$75 filing fee on low-income taxpayers and capping standard deduction and personal income tax exemption amounts at Tax Year 2009 levels.

More taxes. What TRAC, along with the legislative leadership that’s been overspending for years, has done is set the stage for more tax increases. As The Nerve reported, these include:

  • A 2.5 percent sales tax increase on groceries, prescription drugs (excluding purchases made by Medicaid and Medicare recipients), water and electric/gas bills.
  • Raising the sales tax cap on motor vehicles from $300 to $1,200 and dropping the cap entirely after 2014.
  • Taxing out-of-state Internet purchases.

Other options are gas tax increases and local option sales, accommodations and admissions tax increases.

All that’s to say that next year’s Best/Worst is either going to be full of really good ideas … or really bad ones.


Written by Jameson Taylor

November 4, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Posted in News & Media

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