Print this Page

sc grocery tax

By FITSNews || One of South Carolina’s top “Republican” Senate leaders said that lawmakers were considering bringing back the state sales tax on groceries in an effort to raise revenue for state government.

State Sen. Larry Martin (RINO – Pickens) made the remarks at a Pickens County Taxpayers’ Association meeting last Thursday, a gathering from which he somehow managed to emerge un-tarred and un-feathered.

From the Anderson Independent-Mail:

Martin said that the loss of revenue resulting from the elimination of sales tax on food has cost the state “a steady source of income.”

“No one wants to reinstitute the sales tax on groceries, but we have to look at all options during this dire economic situation,” he said. “Our overall situation is not good.”

First of all, it’s pretty pathetic that lawmakers are blaming the grocery tax repeal for South Carolina’s current revenue shortfall – as if the two-year national recession and chronic overspending by GOP leaders that preceded (and accompanied) that recession had nothing at all to do with the problem.

It’s also pretty pathetic that the Anderson Independent-Mail (a.k.a. the Tin Foil Hat Times) would fail to investigate Martin’s claim a little more thoroughly.

For starters, while the so-called “elimination of the grocery tax” is a favorite target of RINO politicians like Martin – they were the ones who pushed it through the legislature four years ago as a sop to Democrats who were uneasy with their boneheaded property tax/ sales tax swap.

In fact, one of the biggest RINO whiners over all of this “lost revenue” is none other than Sen. Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman – who three years ago was busily touting the grocery tax cut as “The Leatherman Plan.”

“I believe very strongly that people should not be taxed on the food that they must have,” Leatherman told the Savannah Morning News in October of 2007.

But was “The Leatherman Plan” really a tax cut for poor people?

Of course not.

Lawmakers cut the tax on groceries, but to make up for it they raised the the sales tax on everything else.  So once again, it wasn’t a “tax cut” so much as it was a “tax swap” – or a “revenue neutral tax realignment” in bureaucratic parlance.

But it’s not just the political hypocrisy of RINO tax-and-spenders like Martin and Leatherman that’s so sad, it’s the fact that they would even think about raising the grocery tax in an economy like this one – or any economy for that matter.

Lawmakers need to cut government, not raise people’s grocery bills.