sc house: more debt

February 25, 2015; For immediate release; Contact: Brian Symmes, 803-673-9437

Gov. Nikki Haley: “They just ran up the credit card debt and reversed everything we’ve been doing”

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Nikki Haley today discussed a budget proposal that would burden South Carolina taxpayers with a half a billion dollars of new debt. She asked budget writers to instead consider a low-tax and low-debt budget that respects the taxpayers of the state.

“Look at what we’ve done with our credit card debt every single year. It was very important to drop the credit card debt for the hard working taxpayers of South Carolina so that they realized that not only were we trying to bring jobs and put money in their pocket, we were trying to reduce our credit card debt. So if you look, you see we’ve made some really great progress. I was proud of what we had done, and I was proud of what we were going to do going forward,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “In our budget this year we wanted to reduce our credit card debt $40 million more. That’s not what happened in Ways & Means when it came out. Not only did they not reduce the $40 million that we wanted, they raised it $40 million more. They just ran up the credit card debt and reversed everything we’ve been doing.”

s.33 exempts military retirement benefits from taxes

calvinquarles_soldierTo: President Pro Tempore Hugh K. Leatherman and Members of the South Carolina Senate; Speaker Jay K. Lucas and Members of the South Carolina House of Representatives

Subject: “Projected Economic and Fiscal Impact of Exempting Military Pension Income from South Carolina Income Tax” dated February 12, 2015

On behalf of the South Carolina Military Base Task Force, we respectfully submit for your consideration the findings of a just-completed study which is relevant to a subject that is the focus of four bills currently pending in Senate or House committees.

This study was prepared by Dr. Robert T. Carey, Director, Regional Economic Analysis Laboratory, Strom Thurmond Institute, Clemson University, in conjunction with Dr. G. Michael Mikota, Executive Director of the Santee Lynches Regional Council of Governments. Dr. Carey and Dr. Mikota used a state of the art dynamic scoring model referred to as the REMI PI+ model to account for the impact from the economic changes predicted to result from the proposed change in tax policy feeding back through tax revenue. We are extremely grateful to these respected economists and their staffs for their expertise in addressing this important subject.

The Executive Summary of the study is attached for your ease of reference. The full report is available on the Task Force website at We will be happy to provide copies to you upon request.

We believe it is fair to say that a relatively small short term investment in the elimination of state tax on military pension income will produce a return on investment to the State in at least three ways: (a) it is military friendly; (b) it will be workforce enhancing, and (c) in the long term it will be economically beneficial. We respectfully submit that this study supports those beliefs. Moreover, based on our interaction with numerous military members serving in South Carolina, we believe that the elimination of such tax will be a positive inducement to attract well qualified military retirees and their families to make South Carolina their permanent home and workplace.

Dr. Mikota and Dr. Carey have also expressed their willingness to make a PowerPoint presentation of the report’s findings and conclusions. We would welcome the opportunity to make that presentation available to whatever group or committee you deem appropriate.

Thank you for allowing us to share this information for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted, William L. Bethea, Jr. Chairman

Slope on gas taxes

shane.martinThe tax-increase flavor of the month, is the gas tax. Some legislators, including some Republicans, for years have called for a gas tax increase as a means of funding road and bridge repair. These same Republicans, and their Democrat allies, of course always have voted against proposals, like the half a dozen that I have authored or cosponsored in the last few years, to use the money that we actually have on hand to fund our roads. Now they, including Governor Haley, have a new scheme; raise the gas tax now and in return the promise of future decreases in the income tax. Many of you remember Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoons who would “gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Well, Wimpy never paid up, and you likely never will get your income tax reduction. read on

Citizens for a Free Market: don’t dump on SC campaign

for more info, click here

your government wants to silence you

freespeechS. 1, commonly known as “ethics reform” isn’t about “ethics” or “reform”. More often than not, I have found legislation titled with words of importance to have a hidden agenda. What is it? Buried in the text of this “omnibus” bill is a constraint that would require issue advocacy groups to submit their membership lists to government. Simply put, they want to shut you up. The driving force behind this effort is to root out anyone critical of elected officials. My colleagues made it very clear when they tabled my amendment to remove this offensive language. Here are those standing with you and your right to free speech: Allen, D-Greenville; Bright, R-Spartanburg; Bryant, R-Anderson; Cleary, R-Georgetown; Corbin, R-Greenville; Grooms, R-Berkeley; Kimpson, D-Charleston; S. Martin, R-Spartanburg; Rankin, R-Horry; Verdin, R-Laurens

Interestingly, the SC House of Representatives passed a stand-alone bill to suppress you. H. 3189 passed with only six liberty lovers voting nay: Bedingfield, Hill, Norman, Putnam, G. R. Smith, Thayer. You will appreciate Rep. Hill’s journal statement:

I voted against H. 3189 because I believe it would have a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech, by subjecting companies and organizations’ donors to the possibility of political retribution.

I’m sure the skids are greased to fast-track H. 3189 in the Senate to silence you. When I was a kid, we’d refer to a boy that could not take criticism as a “sensiboy”. It looks like the General Assembly is full of sensiboys!

What’s the big deal you may ask?

The most fundamental tenet of democracy is that anyone and everyone enjoy the right to speak their mind at any time, in any place and on any subject. The important part of free speech, moreover, is not the “speech” part but the “free” part. Americans must never be subjected to government restrictions on their speech, particularly their political speech. I believe the words of Winston Churchill that, “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

The idea that an organization that gathers the collective voice of concerned citizens on a particular subject should be forced to give over the names and addresses of their supporters smacks of the sort of oppressive government that Americans have spent the better part of two centuries fighting against, both at home and abroad.

This bill eviscerates advocacy efforts on both ends of the political spectrum. A doctor who donates to a group that lobbies for universal health care must inform the government that he did so. People who give money to a group that seeks a ban on public prayer or greater gun control must put their personal information on a list to be held by the government. I disagree with these particular initiatives, but I repel at the suggestion that people should have to fill out forms and have a file with the government before they can express themselves.

The only explanation for gagging speech is fear of the message. I do not know what message the proponents of this legislation fear, but I do know that once we thwart the constitution by limiting speech, the rest of our rights will fall like dominoes.

We, as free citizens, should demand that government listen to the people instead of requiring us to register before we speak. We, as free citizens, should expect our public officials to endorse or reject our hopes and expectations, not use our desire to speak as a weapon against us. We, as free citizens, must preserve our freedom to speak to our government and not allow our government to become the arbiters of when and where and how we can speak. Once we allow government to suspend one of our rights, the next ones will go more quickly.

Thomas Jefferson further proclaimed that, “The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.” Senate bill S.1 highjacks our most basic freedom, that of free speech. I will fight the contamination of our politics by the usurpation of our right to speak. I hope you will join me.

This blog has always been an open forum. You will notice, that whenever I receive an opposing view of my own, I invite the author (anonymous if they wish) to write  an article and I’ll publish it. You will notice any comment is left to stand regardless of the view. I signed up to be a recipient of your compliments, suggestions, and complaints and will continue to do so.

message from Gov. Haley

IMG_4412.JPGfyi: The amendment Gov. Haley is referring to was an opportunity to pass registration by party. Also, S. 1 contains language that suppresses free speech. Click here, here, and here to see my thoughts on restricting your 1st amendment rights.

from Gov. Haley:
Yesterday was a sad day for the South Carolina Republican Party.

Eight of our Republican Senators voted to kill true ethics reform, and to keep in place our current, corrupt system of legislators investigating legislators. It’s shameful.

The good news is we still have time to change it.

But we need your help, and the help of all the good, real Republicans across South Carolina.

Please make sure every Republican knows the name of these eight Senators:

Senator Lee Bright (803)
Senator Kevin Bryant: (803) 212-6320
Senator Paul Campbell (803) 212-6016
Senator Ray Cleary (803)
Senator Tom Corbin (803)
Senator Hugh Leatherman (803) 212-6640
Senator Shane Martin (803)
Senator Luke Rankin (803)

And please make sure they reach out and ask them this: what have they been doing that makes them fight so hard to cover up their actions? What are they scared of? We all deserve to know.

There is no acceptable excuse. My very best, Nikki

sfo (scholarship funding organizations)

evan.cobb.choice.scholarshipScholarship Funding Organizations (or SGO’s Scholarship Granting Organizations) are those designated charities which award grants to exceptional needs children attending eligible schools.

To view a current list of Scholarship Funding Organizations, please click here to IndependentEd’s website
All SFOs must:
  • Be South Carolina based 501(c)3 tax exempted non-profit corporations
  • Spend 95 percent of their income on grants
  • Not have felons, bankruptcy filers or recipient parents serving as directors, volunteers, contractors, consultants, or fundraisers
  • Award grants to students at two or more eligible schools
  • Complete an annual comprehensive audit and provide it the Secretary of State and Education Oversight Committee (EOC)
  • Not release personally identifiable information pertaining to students or donors or use information collected for financial gain
  • Not place conditions on schools enrolling students receiving scholarships to limit the ability of the schools to enroll students accepting grants from other SFOs

ccc conquer series 02/07 @ 5pm

Our church, Concord Community Church, invitees all men to the Conquer Series on Sunday, February 8th at 5pm. Pizza being served. Watch the trailer.

Security Freezes for Protected Consumers Protected Consumers in SC

Security Freezes for Protected Consumers
Protected Consumers in South Carolina now have a right to place a “security freeze” on their credit reports. A security freeze stops potential creditors and other third parties from accessing a protected consumer’s credit report without their consent. Protected consumers include anyone under the age of sixteen at the time the request is made, or anyone who is incapacitated for whom a guardian has been appointed.
To place a security freeze, submit a request to a consumer reporting agency below. Sufficient proof of identification for the protected consumer will be required. A freeze will be placed within 30 days of the CRA receiving the completed request.
To request a freeze, log on to any of the following CRA websites:

•, or call 1-888-397-3742
•, or call 1-888-909-8872
The freeze will remain in effect until the protected consumer or guardian decides otherwise. A pin number will be provided when the freeze is placed, and can be used to thaw or lift the freeze. There is no fee to place or remove a freeze on a protected consumer in South Carolina.
For more information on protecting against ID Theft, visit the “Identity Theft Resources” page at

sc club: taxpayer heroes

South Carolina Club for Growth Foundation Releases the State of the Legislature
Names 11 Taxpayer Heroes in its annual Legislative Scorecards

COLUMBIA, S.C. –After Governor Haley’s State of the State address last night, the South Carolina Club for Growth Foundation released its State of the Legislature (2013-2014 Legislative Scorecards). It named 11 Taxpayer Heroes and 117 Taxpayer Nightmares based on their voting records since January of 2013. Scorecards can be found by clicking here.

With 26 Senate votes and 21 House votes, this scorecard is based on 100 possible points for each member. Those scoring an “A” or “B+” earned the title “Taxpayer Hero”. Those legislators scoring a “F” earned the title “Taxpayer Nightmare”.

Club Chairman Dave Ellison said, “Hardworking South Carolinians don’t have the time to monitor each vote. These scorecards show if what is said on the campaign trail or at home matches up with what is done in Columbia. We are proud to give taxpayers this valuable tool that show how a legislator truly feels about spending, reform and other pro-growth issues.”

Scores are based on a thorough analysis of the over 3,000 votes taken last session with a focus on the budget process, government reform and restructuring, and pro or anti-growth policies.

A pro-growth vote received the maximum number of points, while a vote against the pro-growth position received no points. In certain circumstances, points were deducted from legislators for changing a vote. If a legislator went on record as abstaining from a vote – due to a conflict of interest – that vote was not factored into their total score.

The SC Club for Growth Foundation Scorecard only looks at votes on the floor of the Senate and House or Representatives. It does not take into consideration a legislators work outside of the chambers.

2014 Fast Facts: Senate: -The average Republican score was 51 -The average Democrat score was 7
Taxpayer Heroes in the Senate: Shane Massey, Lee Bright, Kevin Bryant, Paul Thurmond
House of Representatives: -The average Republican score was 45 -The average Democrat score was 5
Taxpayer Heroes in the House: Ralph Norman, Garry Smith, Deborah Long, Eric Bedingfield, Bill Chumley, Nathan Ballentine, Tommy Stringer