Republicans in South Carolina complain about government, complain about taxation, complain about jobs, and complain about the economy. However who is to blame but the Republicans themselves.
The Republicans instituted an insane taxation/revenue system that state revenue relies largely on income and sales taxes and shifted away from property taxes; the Republicans keep the cigarette tax the lowest in the nation (nice way to allow cigarette companies to prey on the poor); and Republicans have kepted the predatory payday lenders in business.South Carolinians need to wake up, Republicans have not helped South Carolina but put it into economic and social chaos.
While good hardworking people are trying to find a job, keep a job, pay their bills, and feed their families; the leadership in the State was completely clueless. Roughly half a million adults in South Carolina are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking. This is nothing compared to South Carolinians without health insurance or that are underinsured!
The Republican Governor Mark Sanford, Republican State Senate, DINO's, and the Republican General Assembly were promising tax relief and a more simple system of taxation. Well South Carolina you got it and when the economy tanked, this voodoo economic/taxation system went down as well and now is decimating the education system, economy, and government in South Carolina.
The Republicans (and some DINO's) would have South Carolinians believe that schools have more money now. South Carolina don't believe it, this didn't happen! The General Assembly added property tax relief to the existing state aid to schools through EFA (Education Finance Act), EIA (Education Improvement Act), and state grants. This didn't create a situation in which schools had more money, but that residential property owners had more money. These additional funds weren’t going to be used on improving the quality of K-12 education because the funds are not in the system anymore. South Carolina's renters and businesses also didn’t get tax relief either.
Republicans would have South Carolinians believe they have a lower tax rate than many other States in the nation, true but not entirely. South Carolina may be ranked in the lower quadrant of taxation but ranks 14th in the U.S. in per capita fees and charges. These fees are regressive, make the revenue system less equitable, and do not fund public schools. What property owners need to understand is that with a higher value property, there is an association with a higher income and a higher ability to pay those property taxes. These higher home values help create good quality schools, which in turn help increase the value of homes in those areas, not to mention better communities and more opportunities for businesses.
So let's look at the reliance on sales taxes as opposed to income and property taxes. By South Carolina putting a larger reliance on sales taxes, they exposed themselves to any economic downturn in the economy and consumer spending. What higher sales tax rates do facilitate is that South Carolinians turn to internet, catalog, and neighbor state shopping. This creates losses of revenue for local merchants, small businesses, and local governments, in addition to the loss of revenues for the State of South Carolina.
Who pays the most as far as income taxes in South Carolina, well to put it simply the lower income and middle class? In an analysis by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy – November 2009:
• South Carolinians earning less than $16,000 pay 7.1 percent;
• Middle-income South Carolinians earning between $27,000 and $44,000, pay 7.9 percent;
• Upper-middle income South Carolinians earning between $44,000 and $74,000 pay 8.2 percent and those earning between $74,000 and $150,000 pay 8.5 percent.
So who pays the least, of course the upper income levels in South Carolina. In the same study as above:
• South Carolinians earning between $150,000 and $390,000 pay 7.4 percent which is lower than any other level other than those earning less than $16,000;
• South Carolinians earning above $390,000 pay only 6.4 percent, the lowest of all levels.
In this same study, Vermont’s tax system is among the least regressive in the nation because it has a highly progressive income tax and low sales and excise taxes. Vermont’s tax system is also made less unfair by the state’s refundable Earned income Tax Credit (EITC).
So South Carolina Republicans, how do you expect your system of government to function when those with the financial resources pay the least and those who don't have the financial resources pay the most? It is a widely known fact that states that have a disproportionate reliance on sales and excise taxes make their taxes among the highest in the entire nation on low-income families.
So what do the citizens and voters of South Carolina need to do?
First you have to understand the entire tax system needs to be restructured and this means some will pound the drums that taxes are going up. Well they will, but for those who are currently getting away with paying less, these should change to be more equitable.
Secondly, everyone should understand this process will take some time but the results will be better for education, lower income and middle class families, and help government properly fund services.
Everyone wants government to be there and provide services for them, but don't want to pay for it. The goal is to make South Carolina not a poor state anymore but one helps all become successful and earn more money, which in turn helps everyone.
Here are some facts to consider about South Carolina from the US Census Bureau:
• Of the 133,563 South Carolina families with 2006 income below the federal poverty level, two-thirds had one or more workers.
• In 2006, 22% of South Carolina’s children lived in poverty – below $20,444 for a two-parent family with 2 children.
• Forty-four percent of South Carolina children in 2006 lived in families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level.