SC’s Sagging Income Levels
While S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and the “Republican-controlled” General Assembly in South Carolina continue to grow government at recklessly exorbitant levels, the ability of Palmetto State taxpayers to pick up this soaring tab continues to shrink.
According to data published by the U.S. Census, South Carolina’s median household income fell to $42,018 in 2010 (from an inflation-adjusted $43,302 in 2009) – a three percent drop that outpaced the national decline of 2.2 percent.
Thanks to the drop, South Carolina’s median household income level ranked fifth-lowest in the nation in 2010. In 2009 the state’s income levels – which were already shrinking prior to the onset of the recession – ranked eighth-lowest nationally after experiencing a 3.7 percent decline from the previous year.
By contrast, state lawmakers grew government by $1.3 billion during the current fiscal year and are expected to spend another $1 billion in new money this year. Did your income grow commensurately? And will you see a dime of that new money this year?
Sadly, there’s currently no mechanism in place to send surplus money back to the taxpayers even if lawmakers wanted to. As a result, these surpluses are spent elsewhere in state government – along with the so-called “savings” realized by state agencies.
S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) has consistently pushed for the creation of a “taxpayer rebate fund” that would give lawmakers the option of sending surplus money and savings back to taxpayers. Davis introduced his bill a year ago – but it was defeated in the S.C. Senate by a six-vote margin. Specifically, “Republican” State Senators Thomas Alexander, Paul Campbell, Wes Hayes, Hugh Leatherman, Larry Martin and Billy O’Dell voted against Davis’ legislation.
Haley, incidentally, never took a position on Davis’ legislation.