Friday Follies: Favors for ‘Motorsports Tourism’

WHAT MAKES STOCK CAR RACING SO SPECIAL? Many cities across the country have what could be called a “stadium problem.” This problem occurs when a sports team – usually, but not always an NFL team – issues an ultimatum. Unless the franchise is given some form of preferential tax treatment, or the city issues new […]

Category: Friday Follies · Tags:

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 […]

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.  […]

Putting the Goodies Back In

WHY IS OUR SALES TAX HIGH? BECAUSE LAWMAKERS SPEND TOO MUCH TIME IN COLUMBIA, THAT’S WHY This week, as our policy analysts worked on our forthcoming annual guide, The Best and Worst of the General Assembly, we came across a tax reform bill that, we think, tells an interesting story. At least in theory, the […]

South Carolina’s Killer Sales Tax

SALES TAX HOLIDAYS MASK THE TRUTH: THAT S.C., AMONG THE POOREST STATES IN THE U.S., HAS ONE OF THE NATION’S HIGHEST SALES TAXES At 6 percent, South Carolina has the 16th highest sales tax rate in the nation. That’s far higher than the rates of neighboring North Carolina (4.75 percent, 36th in the nation) and […]

Playing with the Tax Code

Ever wonder why our sales tax is so high? Part of the answer can be found in this abandoned amusement park. Earlier this week, one of our analysts was scrolling through the South Carolina tax code chapter on sales tax exemptions. The code exempts scores of things: hearing aids, coal, motor fuel, railcars, farm machinery, […]

Category: Commentary · Tags: ,

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. […]

SC’s Tax Structure: Good, Bad, or Just Plain Awful?

In recent months, some of our state lawmakers have spoken of South Carolina’s tax structure as if it’s the lowest, most business-friendly in the world. Some, indeed, have claimed we have the “lowest taxes in the nation.” But before you take the hype at face value, consider: 1) South Carolina does not have the “lowest taxes […]