S.C. Is a ‘Low Tax State,’ Right? Wrong.

SOUTH CAROLINA IS A LOW INCOME STATE — SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT South Carolina politicos sometimes claim that ours is a “low tax state” and that it has the “lowest taxes in that nation.” The claim is false. It confuses tax collections with tax rates – that is, total amounts sent to Columbia versus the proportion of […]

Fuzzy Math: The Gas Tax Debate’s Bad Numbers

WHY ARE PROPONENTS OF A GAS TAX HIKE RELYING ON SUCH BAD NUMBERS? The debate over roads and road funding, especially as it’s taken place inside the State House over the last two years, has been riddled with bogus statistics and implausible projections. Here are three of the worst examples of this trend: Tax cut […]

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A Crackdown on Accommodations Tax “Evaders”

LAWMAKERS’ ANSWER TO UNFAIRNESS: PUNISH MORE BUSINESSES, NOT FEWER Almost all forms of taxation raise the question of fairness. Why does one person pay a higher percentage of his or her income than another? Why is one industry given the advantage of a sales tax exemption, while another industry gets no such advantage? Why is […]

What Would the Founders Do about Our Income Tax?

WOULD THE FOUNDERS BE SATISFIED WITH JUST ‘SIMPLIFYING’ THE INCOME TAX CODE? Among the several tax-related bills we analyzed in our annual guide, The Best & Worst of the General Assembly, is legislation purporting to simplify the state’s tax code and lower taxes on South Carolinians. H.3266 would reduce the state’s current six income tax brackets […]

South Carolina’s Uncompetitive Income Tax

 HERE’S WHY WE’RE LOSING: OUR TAXES ARE HIGHER We’ve leveled a lot of criticisms at the South Carolina Department of Commerce over the last several years, and will no doubt level more in the future. Presently, however, an excellent report the agency put together in 2010 deserves for more attention than it ever got when […]

S.C. Politicians’ Talking Points: Myths vs. Facts

NOTHING WRONG WITH MYTHS … JUST DON’T REPEAT THEM AS FACT Since the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers have been blasting out emails that boast of the year’s accomplishments. Even allowing for politicians’ customary boasts, some of these claims are either misleading or flatly untrue. Here are a few: Taxes and Size of […]

Reforms Pass in North Carolina … But Not Here

THE REASON HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IDEOLOGY It’s a tale of two legislative sessions. In one state, lawmakers passed significant tax reform that lowers tax rates across the board, took a meaningful step towards school choice, and expanded Second Amendment rights. In another state, lawmakers talked a big game about government restructuring, reforming the […]

Does S.C. “Live within Its Means”?

 TECHNICALLY, YES. IN EVERY OTHER WAY, NO. Twenty-four billion is a large number. No one has ever seen 24 billion dollars all together, so it’s difficult to imagine an amount of money that large. But apparently, according to South Carolina’s lawmakers, it takes this mind-bending amount of money to run the state for one year.  […]

The House Tax Plan: True Reform or Something Else?

As we’ve reported in the past, South Carolina’s tax rates are among the least competitive in the nation. Middle class families pay an inordinately high top rate, manufacturers are crippled by the state’s property tax (one of the highest in the nation), and our state’s byzantine system of exemptions keeps sales tax artificially high. And […]

A Tale of Two Tax Proposals

WELL, WHICH IS IT? Despite lawmakers’ disingenuous claims that South Carolina has some of the “lowest taxes in the nation,” the truth is that South Carolina taxpayers and businesses pay far too much to the state. The principle is simple: Taxes should be low and equitable, and South Carolina’s tax structure, for the most part, is neither. […]