license

Biz License Reform Bill Not Much of a Reform

BUSINESS LICENSE TAXES ARE CONFUSING AND PUNITIVE. A REFORM BILL IN THE LEGISLATURE WOULD DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THAT. By any reckoning, one of the most widely hated taxes is the business licensing tax – and that’s true in virtually any state or municipality where such a tax is levied. The reason for this dislike […]

Penny Stacks

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 […]

stock market

ANALYSIS: The Pension System Reform Bill

SOUTH CAROLINA’S PENSION SYSTEM IS IN THE RED BY TENS OF BILLIONS. A NEW BILL WOULD TINKER WITH THE SYSTEM. After months of deliberations and expert testimony, the Joint Committee on Pension Systems Review finalized its recommendations on identical bills filed in both the House (H.3726) and Senate (S.394). These bills change both the funding and […]

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South Carolina roads legislature

House Leaders’ Gas Tax Bill

LAWMAKERS’ ANSWER TO THE ROADS PROBLEM IS STILL THE SAME: YOU HAVEN’T SENT ENOUGH MONEY TO COLUMBIA [The text of this analysis has been updated to reflect the bill’s most recent version. Updates on the bill’s history mentioned at the bottom.] House leaders filed H.3516, a bill allegedly designed to repair South Carolina’s deteriorating road system. […]

judicial department2

S.C. Supreme Court Elections – Quick and Quiet

WHY YOU HEARD NOTHING ABOUT YOUR NEW SUPREME COURT JUDGE On Tuesday, January 31, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Instantly, the nation’s media, political class, judicial interest groups, and citizenry began to debate Judge Gorsuch’s merits and record, and that debate will continue for probably another month. It’s a messy […]

law - close-up

What Makes One Lawmaker So Powerful?

SEN. HUGH LEATHERMAN HOLDS A BEWILDERING ARRAY OF STATE OFFICES. HE IS ACCOUNTABLE TO ONLY ONE SENATE DISTRICT. THE RESULT IS PREDICTABLE. Two of the most powerful offices in South Carolina are the presidency pro tempore of the Senate, and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Any politician occupying one or the other holds […]

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testimony judges

New Bill Takes Aim at Criticism of Lawmakers

  LEGISLATION WOULD REGULATE FREE SPEECH EVEN MORE TIGHTLY THAN LAST YEAR’S ‘DARK MONEY’ BILL In its present form, S.255, sponsored by Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), would substantially encroach on South Carolinians’ right to criticize politicians. The bill would require groups engaging in “election communication” – broadly defined as communication that supports or opposes a candidate, […]

statehouse-window-senate

New Bills Filed for 2017 – Our Take

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE EGREGIOUS The legislative session begins this week, and scores of bills await debate. Among these are bills that would increase the gas tax, restrict Second Amendment rights, and give tax breaks to special interests.  Below are some of the major bills we’re watching. Roads Over the past four years, […]

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private property sign

Property Rights in South Carolina

PRIVATE PROPERTY IS TOTALLY SECURE IN THIS CONSERVATIVE STATE, RIGHT? WRONG. In the wake of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, South Carolina attempted to shore up property rights with a constitutional amendment. As it now stands, however, the state constitution does not protect private property from seizure by government or even private companies. Currently, […]

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South Carolina Roads

Will Lawmakers Raise the Gas Tax in 2017?

LAST YEAR, THE PROBLEM WAS STRUCTURAL RATHER THAN MONETARY. IT STILL IS. Over the past several weeks there has been considerable public speculation that Gov. Nikki Haley’s successor may support a gas tax increase. Given calls to raise the gas tax from editorial boards, Department of Transportation officials, and state lawmakers, it’s fair to assume that the […]