SC’s Fake $146 Million “Tax Cut”

It’s curious to see how S.C. lawmakers and Gov. Nikki Haley are patting themselves on the back for what they – and the mainstream media – are referring to as $146 million in “unemployment insurance tax relief” included in the state budget. That’s a funny way of describing this particular…

It’s curious to see how S.C. lawmakers and Gov. Nikki Haley are patting themselves on the back for what they – and the mainstream media – are referring to as $146 million in “unemployment insurance tax relief” included in the state budget.

That’s a funny way of describing this particular government appropriation, because the way we see it this is a $146 million tax increase on Palmetto state taxpayers – who are being asked to pick up the tab for it as part of the largest budget in state history.

More to the point, even those businesses that will directly benefit from this appropriation aren’t getting “tax relief,” they’re getting a modest reduction in the massive tax hike that lawmakers imposed on them a year ago in attempting to pay down a $1 billion debt to the federal government.

Businesses in this state are still on the hook for nearly $800 million in new unemployment insurance taxes – and that number could go up before it goes down if our state’s unemployment rate keeps climbing.

Yeah … that “tax relief” doesn’t sound so good now, does it?

But such are semantics at the S.C. State House, where up is down, down is up – and everything is guaranteed to be backward.

Champions of this “tax relief” clearly hope voters have forgotten the plan crafted last year by S.C. Sen. Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken) and House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham (RINO-Lexington), which forced businesses that laid off workers during the recent recession to bear the brunt of the repaying the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund – which was exhausted in December of 2008.

In fact not only was this fund exhausted, it rang up a whopping $933 million debt.

Haley supported the Ryberg-Bingham plan – calling it an “excellent reform” as recently as four months ago. Of course when she started taking political heat for this position, she changed her mind and proposed that state government borrow $180 million in an effort to temporarily alleviate the pressure on repaying this fund.

Yeah … borrowing to pay for previous borrowing. That’s a real “conservative” idea, isn’t it?

Anyway, this fund – which once had a balance of $800 million – started experiencing problems as far back as 2001, when it first dipped below recommended reserve levels. Also, until recently the fund was managed by the notoriously corrupt S.C. Employment Security Commission – a legislatively-controlled agency that has since been replaced by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, part of Haley’s cabinet.

Of course while this fund was being depleted, state government bureaucracies in South Carolina were receiving more than $4 billion in “stimulus” funds over the last two years – money that might as well have been flushed down the toilet.

Seriously … if the federal government truly wanted to “stimulate” the economy (as opposed to bailing out bureaucracies) why didn’t it just forgive this loan?

That’s a good question …

An even better question? How making taxpayers assume the burden for $146 million of a $1 billion business tax hike is “tax relief?”

Don’t get us wrong, we’d rather see this money go toward this purpose than seeing it poured into the bottomless pit of our state’s worst-in-the-nation, “one size fits all” government education monopoly … in fact, there’s a case to be made that we could have completely eliminated this debt in light of the $1.3 billion in new money that lawmakers are appropriating for the coming fiscal year.

But whatever you call this $146  million appropriation … don’t call it “tax relief.”


Related posts


South Carolina Coastal Community Mourns Lost Teen

Will Folks

South Carolina Leads The Nation In Population Growth

Will Folks

Swimmer Lost Off Litchfield Beach

Will Folks


Bemused June 24, 2011 at 9:27 am

You’re not very consistent, FITS. The federal government “forgiving” the unemployment fund loan would simply transfer the cost to all federal taxpayers. The cost should stay where it belongs — with the SC companies that operate on a business model that involves seasonally dumping their employees on unemployment insurance and picking them up again later. Of course dumping the cost on the taxpayers is consistent with the highest standards of contemporary capitalism, which operates on a simple model: “the profits are mine, the risks and the costs belong to the government and the taxpayers.”

jimlewisowb June 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

Why not take the $146 million and build the I-73 Interchange.

Then erect billboards up and down the East Coast proclaiming it as the Turd Gateway to Turdsville, USA (formerly Myrtle Beach, SC).

While visiting Turdsville one can go Turd Golfing or Turd Surfing. Nothing makes for a pleasant day like smacking a big old turd with a nine iron or climbing onto a turd as big as Thad Viers, catching a big one and riding it to shore. Also there are thousands and thousands of pieces of cheap ass China made shit, turd’s first cousin, for sale proclaiming “I Was a Turd for a Day in Fucking Turdsville,USA”.

If that doesn’t make your toilet bowl water swirl fast enough, then think of the extra Turd Tax you will pay in Turdsville just to keep the Political Turds in power so they can continue to make sure that Turdsville is as Turdie as it can be.

Yep, that is how I would spent the $146,000,000.

cash June 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

“Turdie” Now that’s funny.

Nostradamus June 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

Please, don’t move D. C. to M. B. EVERYBODY knows where
turdsville is and it would only stink worse if it got closer.

Henry June 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

This is a tax HIKE on the average person and a tax bailout for the businesses that owe their fare share of this insurance program.
How the Democrats and others let this happen is beyond me.

I heard that Nikki raked in $100,000 in contributions and pledges over this deal. Sweet for her!

Cocky June 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

Pay for play, baby — but hey, Paris is expensive!

But so romantic!!!

Did she take Michael? Bet he had to stay home with the kids.

Skidmarks June 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm

SC owes a billion to the federal treasury and has over eight billion in federal funds in the state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

There’s where our federal deficit comes from.

Huhhh??? June 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

You are so full of shit.

Please read the McClatchy story from a few of months ago about the 34, THIRTY FOUR states that are in the same ESC mess.

WHY? NOT because of notoriously corrupt ESC boards, but because of notoriously morally and intellectually corrupt legislators who signed “no-new-taxes” pledges and kept lowering ESC tax rates as “freebies” to businesses for 20+ years.

Those good conservative, Bible thumping Christians could have read the Good Book to keep this from happening. Or, maybe, just one of their kindergarteners simple little Bible Stories. The one about Joseph interpreting the Pharoah’s dream about the lean cows devouring the fat cows and interpreting that signified the need to store the wheat from the good harvest and save it for the years of famine.

Remember? Put your excess wheat (money) up in time of plenty, so you can use it to feed (pay the benefits to) your people in the time of drought and famine. Pretty good economic advice, I would say.

Wouldn’t THAT have been more like running government like a family or a business, rather than the taking in the taxes and turning around and giving some of it back to the businesses so you never get the surplus that will get us through the bad time?

And, THAT is why the Tom Davis, Nikki Haley and Will Folks idea of taxpayer rebates is so STUPID…and it’s downright heathen, too.

Ralph Hightower June 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Great job General Assembly and SC Governot Nikki Haley:

First you raise the unemployment tax on businesses that abused the system by having frequent layoffs.

When they bitch and moan, you cut their rates. The Dept of Employment and Workforce still have to pay back that federal loan.

Oh, and the period to collect unemployment is reduced from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. South Carolina still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

What happened to “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!”?

“Why yes I did. I rewarded them for their campaign contributions by appointing them to Boards, Trustees, and agency heads.”

Oh, you gave those jobs to your acolytes?

Recall Haley June 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Heck, Dept of Employment and Workforce DEW had laid off so many DEW employees they’ve paid in excess of 1 million dollars in UI wages. Needless to say, they proceeded to hire high paying employees costing the state even more for taxpayers to cough up. They’re just as corrupt as ESC if not more so. Geez Haley needs to get this agenc under control. Yeah, right.

Cid June 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

“If we cut taxes
We will create jobs”
Nikki Haley

Wizno June 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

Who can believe the SC tax-payers paid for Nikki to bang a boatload of Frenchies in Paris????

Comments are closed.