South Carolina’s “Lost Decade”

“Republicans” have grown government, not the economy …

South Carolina has been ruled exclusively by “Republicans” for the last decade … but what has the party of limited government and economic growth done for the state? That’s easy … they’ve grown government and moved our economy backward.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at the numbers …

In FY 2000-01 South Carolina’s budget was $13.9 billion. By the time FY 2010-11 rolled around, though, annual spending had ballooned to $21.1 billion. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s a 27.7 percent increase. So … did South Carolinians’ income levels also rise by 27.7 percent over the last decade? Of course not …

We already knew that South Carolina’s income levels were well below the national average – and slipping. But comparing the most recent U.S. Census data with numbers from 2000 reveals just how far behind the rest of the country our state has fallen. According to the 2000 Census, the median household income in South Carolina in 1999 was $37,082 – or 88.3 percent of the national average of $41,994.  In 2010, South Carolina’s median household income was $43,939 – or 84.6 percent of the national average of $51,914.

In other words, South Carolinians saw an already large income gap increase over the last decade.

In fact after adjusting for inflation, South Carolina’s median household income has actually declined over the last decade – by 5.4 percent. And before anyone tries to blame that decrease on the recession, the Census Bureau’s 2010 numbers are actually four-year averages that cover income levels from 2006-2010.

But what about all the new jobs that our state has brought in? According to the S.C. Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) government’s investment in “targeted tax credits” has soared from $34 million annually in 1998 to more than $1 billion a year today. Surely that massive taxpayer-funded investment in “economic development” has expanded our workforce, right?

Also, South Carolina’s population in 2010 was 4.6 million – a 15.3 percent increase from 2000. Surely there are more jobs today than there were a decade ago, aren’t there?

Not so much …

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, South Carolina’s private sector employed 1.4 million people in 2010 – which is actually five percent below its 2000 level. Of course the bureaucratic population expanded by 6.5 percent over the same time period – from 324,000 to 345,000 employees.

Once again … those are bad trend lines.

This website has consistently argued that South Carolina should slow the growth of government and invest instead in its economy. In fact we’ve repeatedly called on lawmakers to return surpluses to the taxpayers in the form of individual income tax relief – which would stimulate the state’s consumer economy while attracting jobs and investment the right way (i.e. without taxpayers having to stroke checks to pay for those jobs).

Sadly, “Republicans” – most notably former House Speaker David Wilkins, current Speaker Bobby Harrell, Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, and Lt. Gov. (and former Senate President) Glenn McConnell – have refused to heed that advice. Instead they’ve spent literally every penny of new money that has been sent to Columbia. Meanwhile new S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who campaigned as a “Tea Party” conservative – has championed even larger budget expansions.

Is that what “Republicans” are supposed to do?

South Carolina has a choice … it can either continue down its current path or summon the courage to try something different. And while our state’s motto is “While I breathe, I hope,” we’ve been around this block enough times to know better than to hold our breath. Also, when the only options at the ballot box are big spending Republicans versus big spending Democrats, it’s hard to see things changing anytime soon.


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95S June 3, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Don’t forget that SC outlawed the poker industry in SC in 2000. Estimates say 40K in jobs were lost and 1 billion in revenue. Nothing in site to replace it with. Glad we got this blight from our society! Now nobody is gambling anywhere! Unless, of course you don’t count the SC Education Lottery. The only thing that it has done is create a way for the state to recoup part of it’s monthly handouts in the form of unemployment and welfare that cycles back thru in scratch off sales!

It’s a Great Fucking Day in South Carolina!

dwb619 June 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

How do they move lottery money from education to unemployment and welfare?

rwwllms June 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

dwb, 95S is saying that the government gives out unemployment and welfare checks and the recipients use the money to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards. Thereby giving the government the money back.

Smirks June 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

“Don’t forget that SC outlawed the poker industry in SC in 2000. Estimates say 40K in jobs were lost and 1 billion in revenue. Nothing in site to replace it with.”

I have been told that the state had a method of accounting for and taxing video poker profits and was ready to roll it out just before they were made illegal. Of course, now we don’t get any taxes from it, and people just play it tucked away in hidden spots, which of course we have to piss away tax dollars busting those illegal operations now. Clearly a great use of our law enforcement’s time, huh?

Sol Blatt June 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

But Republicans all know Jesus and are against abortion, that is all that matters, right?

RecallHaley June 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Our legislature is completely out of control. Incumbents need to be voted out of office, especially Lexington reps…oh, including Haley.

Mae West June 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Holier than thou, bible thumping, faith family and friends, adulterers, liars hypocrits and criminals:
Mark Sanford
Bob Peeler
Earl Morris
Andre Bauer
Ken Ard
Thomas Ravenel
Charles Sharpe
Richard Eckstrom
Nikki Haley

Vincent Lehotsky June 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm

It’s a Great Day in Sachkhand …
And you can bet your Bippy on her Holy Guru Granth Sahib book …

95S June 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Ask any lottery retailer if the first week of the month is not the best for sales of sratch offs? Govt. Checks arrive!

Mike at the Beach June 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm

They don’t call lotteries a “stupid tax” for nothing (i.e., a tax on “stupid,” not just another stupid tax).

Sparklecity June 3, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Actually, SC has TWO mottos (one of only a few states to have two on the State seal (why am I not surprised)

“Dum spiro spero” = “While I breathe, I hope” AND Aninia opibusque parati” = “Ready in soul and resource”.

In the interest of “less is more’ that the FITS guy espouses, I think the state motto should be ” magna Disputato” = “Big talk”

That is what this state is full of. If SC did not have the port of Charleston and the coast to drain the wallets of tourists, SC would be in bigger trouble than now. The state has been whoring itself out since the textiles died in the Upstate back in the 80’s as FITSNews points out. Speaking of natural resources, the state has none. No coal,gas or oil to bring in revenue. No wonder real income is declining. The days of heavy manufacturing in SC is over and no amount of pimping,ultra-conservatism or tax breaks is really going to make a difference. But by gosh, we’ll blame it on the unions all – .01% of the entire state’s workforce!!!

“Palmetto Pride”?? With some of the trashiest roads in the nation??? Have you seen the interstates in SC lately – not a damn one has been mowed. Looks like shit for sure. Maybe that is why you see so many Palmetto Tree decals on the back of car windows. Gotta have something that makes you feel good about SC.

Must be part of that “I don’t need no damn government rule to tell me I can’t trash a road if I want to” individual pride and personal responsibility some of y’all tout every damn day.

Well, I’m sure school choice will solve that as well.

A Humble Chef June 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

Not trying to get off topic as you made a very solid point here, but I also noticed that it’s June and just about every road that’s not an interstate hasn’t been mowed. I know the DOT has to pay back the loan from Obama, but for christ’s sake we can’t just stop taking care of what we already have!!! The bureaucrats are building expensive new highways while I almost can’t see the other side of the highway I’m on for the jungle grass in the median. It’s very annoying…..

No Pledge. June 4, 2012 at 4:51 am

Heavy manufacturing in the automotive and tire businesses is doing nicely and set for major expansion.

“The days of heavy manufacturing in SC is over and no amount of pimping,ultra-conservatism or tax breaks is really going to make a difference.”

Not according to German investors who are pumping hundreds of millions into SC manufacturing facilities, but do continue babbling.

We just need to kill off more taxes to attract retirees who bring money from elsewhere INTO SC. School choice would rescue the few kids from motivated families from the horde of morons and build the elite we need.

SparkleCity June 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

BMW is so propped up it ain’t even funny. If Europe tanks so will BMW. Not too many people in US are buying Beemers any more. If you know the facts like you claim, then you know that OVERSEAS buying is what is keping Bubba Makes Wheels afloat. When overseas sales tanks, there goes Bubba Makes Wheels.

Retirees?? Yep if you want low paying service jobs to keep them shuffling along and again, most retirees are on the coast NOT inland. Hell, the old folks get a break on their property taxes.

Ever heard of Homestead Exemption?

“Build the elite we need” Do you have a version of the Hitler Youth or Waffen SS in mind?

vicupstate June 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

Looks like Sparkle City is not a good authority:

U.S. sales of light trucks built at BMW’s Spartanburg County plant climbed 23.8% in May compared with the same month a year ago.

BMW Group USA reported May sales of 6,939 X3s, X5s and X6s produced at the S.C. plant compared with 5,604 for the same month a year ago.

For the first five months of 2012, U.S. sales of the light truck models, which BMW calls sports activity vehicles, rose 18% to 29,745 units compared with 25,504 for the same period in 2011.

Overall, May sales for the BMW brand in the U.S. increased 7.1% over figures for the same month in 2011, the auto maker said.

Year-to-date sales for BMW brand vehicles are up 13.8% on sales of 104,779 vehicles compared with 92,068 for the same period in 2011. In May, BMW sold 22,168 vehicles compared with 20,651 for the same month in 2011.

Sparklecity June 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Read USA Today Tuesday 5 June for the figures. SC is damn near LAST in adjusted GDP. neighboring states (NC & Ga) are way ahead of SC.

Again, all it is going to take is for Europe, Asia and South America to quit buying Beemers for Bubba makes Wheels to fold like the house of cards it is.

Cancerman June 4, 2012 at 7:19 am

As long as Haley is blasting the unions and bringing in jobs from India and we continue to be negatively portrayed in the media our state will not have the high income jobs with benefits. If people aren’t making descent salaries retuning the money in the form of a tax break want do anything but help the rich folks and not the people that need high paying jobs.

hhuuhh?? June 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

As Gov. Scott Walker was accidentally videotaped saying, it’s all about “divide and conquer” the workers.

Attack (unionized or not) government workers and get the private sector workers stirred up against them.

That makes the private sector workers identify with Big Business (the old plantation massa effect) rather than other workers…which leads to the further decline in private wages because Big Business wants to pay slave wages.

But, since the GOPers cannot learn from history, they have forgotten that the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons begot the progressive era of trust busting and unionization. They would be better off to get on the workers’ side now. But, from what I read of the Wall Street banksters and the Koch Brothers, they just do not get it.

Public and private workers of the USA, unite. You have nothing to lose but your ride to the bottom.

BigT June 4, 2012 at 7:24 am

So giving tax breaks is a COSTING Government, and therefore GROWING it…That’s IGNORANT…

That is how Liberals are trying to Increase Taxes. They think by Making everyone PAY MORE TAXES (and killing commerce) it increases Revenue, and Reduces the size of Government…

It’s like giving an incentive to compete for economy-sustaining and PROFITABLE Industry…is called “Corporate Welfare”…

Liberals have infiltrated the Tea Party, and the Libertarians…

The Liberals’ convetional idea of High Taxes and Giveways to the lazy, protected groups or mal-content has been exposed…

So now they are trying to tell us that Attracting non-union Jobs is Growing government, because they HATE business…

Don’t be STUPID. Don’t Fall for it…

PS: Leveling the playing field to a Liberal is leaving EVERYBODY poor, except the government elites, who eat steak, while you cannot even afford balogna.

Boz Martin June 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

I would agree with some of what you say here, BigT, to the extent that among the worst aspects of liberalism is being tax-happy. The problem with your argument is that you don’t believe it yourself. Proof of that is the way you consistently champion corrupt tax-raising assholes like Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes – who, btw, only became a Republican in order to run for mayor, and who had the most powerful Dem in Myrtle Beach as his campaign manager.

These liberals are also good buds with Trillion Dollar Tom Rice, of “Take Back May” infamy, who is also a believer in taxing the citizens, workers and tourists to the max, in order to line the pockets of his elite masters and cronies. Yeah, sure, they did gave property tax relief to some of the wealthiest property owners in town, in order to secure their votes for Rhodes – but in general they are supporters of higher taxes, grabbing all the federal funding they can, using a form of social engineering to decide who can vacation here and who can’t, using government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace (total crony capitalism, almost to a Hugo Chavez level), and using eminent domain to push through the biggest pork-laden boondoggle project in SC, I-73.

In other words, you are a total and absolute fraud. But then, who the hell didn’t know that?

Sailor June 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

Actually Boz, you’ve got to give Big T(urd) credit for one thing: he got through the whole screed without mentioning OBOMA!

Smirks June 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Yeah, but even when he doesn’t say it is Obama’s fault specifically, you know it is automatically implied in his mind.

vicupstate June 4, 2012 at 8:17 am

If spending increased 27% after inflation and the population increased over 15 percent that leaves about a 12% inrease in 10 years. If you deduct the inflation rate (over and above the normal inflation rate) of medicine, which the state pays via employee benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. that probably explains more than half of that 12% difference.

The state has very little if any leverage over medical inflation.

But that requires thinking beyond conservative diatribe, so it’s not a surpris to see FITS miss that.

BigT June 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

Yet the STATES FITS always tells us are so Far ahead of Backwards South Carolina…Spend FAR FAR MORE…

Sanford was the LOST 8 Years, or most of the Decade…

He took A MILLION OR MORE…and gave nothing….

Industry brings in Billions…Politiciuans HATE that job producers are the REAL Heroes, not their corrupt (@$$#$) like Sanford…

Evian June 4, 2012 at 9:29 am

The South Carolina legislature is Republican ion name only. Most of them truly are Democrats that run as Republican. It is time to clean this body out and replace it with new blood. I do not know if that is possible or not!

Smirks June 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Scumbag party-line voters, pretends SC Republicans are actually Democrats in disguise, still refuses to vote anything but Republican.

HINT: If “Republicans” make up the majority of the SCGOP, that makes YOU the RINO. Fix your party or quit your whining.

Lynn June 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thank God for Mississippi.

SCD June 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

Republicans take over both houses and the governorship, run the state into the ground and then claim the reason things are so bad is they are not real Republicans.

So their answer to the problems their screw ups have caused at the state level is the same as their answer to the problems they caused at the national level. Elect more Republicans.

See where we are going here. No matter how much power you give Republicans they want more, and when they screw up its because they don’t have enough power.

So when you go to the polls remember Einstines definintion of insanity.

hhuuhh?? June 4, 2012 at 11:17 am


Smirks June 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

It is broken logic built to protect the overall party. As long as the party’s purity remains in tact, these fucks just have to focus on winning their primaries, which is easy enough to do with the right funds because not enough educated people show up at the primaries to rid the incumbents. This myth that “Republicans” are really just Democrats and the SCGOP isn’t actually broken is a complete joke.

The people that refuse to call a spade a spade and call the SCGOP for what it is are the very same knuckleheads perpetuating the cycle of craptastic good-old-boy Republicans.

This is not that convoluted June 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

FITS, it’s always scary to see some one who knows little about economics try to play with numbers. I am positive you didn’t come up with the normaliziation of the increase of the budget figures, so I a curious where you copied it from (or rather who forwarded it to you). A very good misdirection in those figures is the difference between the growth of the state portion of the that budget and the TOTAL buget (the figure you use) which includes a huge amount of other things like fees/and primarily federal dollars – i.e. medicare/medicaid et cetera.

You noted that the population grew by 15.3% and that the public sector jobs – e.g. the evil government – only grew by less than 7%. That is not really to bad then is it? You again try to throw some misdiection in there by tossing in the small business jobs only grew by less than 2% (define small business again), likely because you didn’t want to thrown in that public sector jobs grew by much, much less than private sector jobs – which agreeablely is a good thing – but you can’t even admit that is what happened.

Also the average salay in S.C. for in 2000 was approximatley $27,964.00 and the average for 2011 was approximatley $37,724.00. I am willing to bet you a free lunch (don’t worry there is no such thing as one…) that if you used those numbers and the growth in juxtaposition to the ACTUAL buget numbers of state tax dollars, you will see that the growth in salary average to the budget is almost on par if not better.

Again, the Medicaid dollars and other federal monies, which are matched to the state portion of the funding, usually at 3 to 1 (federal to state) helps your fictional numbers and totally untable calculations make for a lot better play in the article. Just doesn’t match up with reality that well. But hey? that rarely stops you.

hhuuhh?? June 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

“…so I a curious where you copied it from (or rather who forwarded it to you). ”

Got that old Mark Sanford/Tom Davis math all over it. After all, Sic is just a hack, never had an original thought in his life, just what those guys told/tell him.

sweepin June 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

He’s just smart enough to print above the comments section only that which is paid for.

Everytime I read economic numbers and quoted figures or statistics, I think of the fraud Sanford perpetuated on the gullible of SC.

I think of the two piglets, “pork” and “barrel,” and I laugh at the morons who bought into that circus act.

William Hamilton June 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

The state’s budget, what is actually raised and spent by the State is down over 2 billion dollars. Most of what you are talking about here are simply Federal payments which flow through state Government for things like Medicaid, TANF and Unemployment Insurance.

The State could save a lot of money by letting people starve.

SC has always gotten a lot more back from the Federal Government than it pays in. It’s just a matter of having a lot of poor and old people here.

What this state needs are high paying jobs, but they’re leaving and the talent is following them. We’re now losing families with school aged children and skilled workers which is a new thing. Since everyone here works to keep wages low, this is no surprise. We sell our people cheap and will be left, in the end, with cheap people. We will become competitive with China and India.

The cost of living along the coast has long been above the national average. Wages are far below it.

Slashing support for schools isn’t going to fix this. Destroying the puny remaining support we have for art and culture here won’t fix it either. Killing ETV won’t help.

If you want cheap labor from a degraded population there are plenty of other places to go.

hhuuhh?? June 4, 2012 at 11:22 am


sweepin June 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Well spoken.

BigT June 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I think SC had a $1 billion surplus during the best of the Bush Prosperity (I think it was 2006, among other surpluses in other years)…

What did Sanford do w/ it????

Smirks June 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

“Bush Prosperity?” Now that’s an oxymoron!

SCD June 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Hey Big T we have almost a billion dollar surplus for this year. I am glad you recognize that credit goes to the President. Obama.

tomstickler June 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm

It could be worse.

North Carolina has enacted a program of exempting the first $50,000 in business profits from taxation. Republican leaders claim that the $336 million cost in state revenues is worth it “because it will stimulate business.”

A study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill claims that the tax break will stimulate the economy and help create nearly 4,000 jobs in two years. Republicans think this is a good deal.

However, that amount of money would pay the salaries and benefits of the 6,400 state employees who lost their jobs last year so that the state could balance its budget.

This is considered good economic practice by North Carolina Republicans. Give money to business in a program that will result in a net loss of 2,400 jobs — not to mention that the 4,000 new jobs in the business sector will probably be at a lower wage than the 6,400 jobs cut in the public sector.

No wonder this Recession is still upon us!

No Pledge. June 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm

“If you want cheap labor from a degraded population there are plenty of other places to go.”

Nonsense. The South has benefited from supplying cheap labor throughout its existence. Cheap jobs are still JOBS, and the idea that there will or somehow should be enough “good” jobs for a whole State or country is absurd.

The countries which compete successfully with the US were willing to work for less to kickstart their economies, and economies require such reboots every several decades.

“We will become competitive with China and India.”

We already ARE, which is why BMW can EXPORT to China. The Baby Boom years are fucking over, finished, and done, and not coming back in a GLOBALLY competitive world.

Sparklecity June 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

That’s basically what I posted earlier.

Thanks for reenforcing my treatise.

Comments are closed.