Upstate Tax Flap Exposes “First In The South” Schism

“REPUBLICAN” FAULT LINES GROW WIDER AFTER DEFEAT OF TAX HIKE By FITSNEWS || Voters in South Carolina didn’t distinguish themselves at the polls in 2014 … although that’s not exactly groundbreaking news.  And in their defense, they really didn’t have much in the way of worthy options to choose from…


By FITSNEWS || Voters in South Carolina didn’t distinguish themselves at the polls in 2014 … although that’s not exactly groundbreaking news.  And in their defense, they really didn’t have much in the way of worthy options to choose from (at least when it came to the special interest-fed, mainstream-media approved candidates).

They never do …

Voters in Greenville County, S.C. were wise enough to reject a local sales tax increase, though … a decision we believe has far-reaching implications on future Palmetto State elections – as well as the quadrennial “First in the South” presidential primary vote.

The proposed Greenville levy – opposed by the limited government wing of the local GOP – would have deprived the local consumer economy of $670 million over eight years.  Quite a hefty nut.  Despite tremendous institutional support, it was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin.

“We not only won, we kicked their ass,” limited government advocate Joshua Cook told FITS.

Indeed … but the big story here isn’t the defeat of the tax, it’s the widening rift within the “Republican” party between true limited government supporters and tax-and-spend liberals.

After the tax hike was defeated, Greenville GOP chairman Chad Groover told The Greenville News he supported funding the infrastructure projects the tax hike was supposed to address – but not the tax hike itself.

“I think we need to do these projects,” Groover told the paper. “But we also need to use the taxpayer money already paid to do these repairs, not burden the taxpayers with new taxes.”

Really?  Groover was singing a vastly different tune prior to the tax hike vote.

In fact he blocked efforts by Cook and other limited government advocates to pass a resolution from the party condemning the tax increase.

Why did he do that?  Because he was too busy providing “cool, calm leadership” on behalf of those who were pushing for it.

Here’s an email exchange between Groover and Fred Payne – a fiscally liberal county councilman who was pushing the tax hike – in which the latter congratulates the former for his efforts to keep the local party from weighing in against the tax hike.

In his reply, Groover says he is “glad” the party’s leadership didn’t have to vote on the resolution …

(Click to enlarge)

groover payne

(Pic: Provided)

So …

Why is this email important?

Seriously … unless you live in Greenville County, why should it matter to you?

After all, we’ve written previously regarding recent efforts by Groover and his allies to mold the Greenville GOP into an establishment-friendly party (to the extent anyone cares), so what exactly about this latest development is noteworthy?

Well, it’s emblematic of a broader “Republican” problem when it comes to bread and butter fiscal issues – one that extends far beyond Greenville (and far beyond South Carolina).  And one that has the potential to tear the party apart.

“This type of hypocrisy infuriates me and it’s another reason why I loathe the Republican Party,” Cook told FITS.

Us, too …

In fact in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election (a.k.a. the battle between two big spending, crony capitalist, global interventionist supporters of socialized medicine), we wrote off the “Republican” party for the last time.  Which was obviously a wise decision considering how its leaders continue to target our (and your) hard earned money.

But most limited government advocates – including Cook – decided to stick it out, believing the best way to advance pro-liberty, pro-free market principles was to change the GOP from within.  Do they still feel that way?  Hell no.

Two years later, Cook and his allies tell us “if you want political change, you have to get it done outside of the two-party system.”

Exactly …

“If you want to defeat the largest tax increase in Greenville County history, you must fight not only the RINO elements of Greenville County Council, (but) also … the behind the scenes RINO element of the Greenville County Republican Party,” Harry Kibler, another Upstate limited government activist, told FITS.

Moving outside of the party establishment could bear tremendous electoral fruit for these renegade Republicans.  As we noted this summer, a survey from Market Research Foundation found a mile-wide independent streak in “GOP-controlled” South Carolina – with its pollsters concluding that the GOP hold on power was “the result of a lack of better alternatives at the ballot box, not any particular affinity for the party.”

In other words, if a breakaway limited government movement is ever able to gain traction in the Palmetto State – via a credible third party alternative for statewide office or some other means – “Republicans” are in real trouble.

After all, houses that are this divided against themselves won’t stand for long …


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sparklecity November 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

Harry Kibler is a whacked-out Tea Partier and is even loathed by some within the Upstate faction of the Tea Party.
Talk about divisions, he was involved in a nasty fight between “Queen” Karen Martin (head of the Spartanburg Tea Party) and himself to be the be all & end all for Upstate Tea Party right wing-nuts (their semi-“hissy-fit” is still going on if I’m not mistaken).
Surely, FITS could have found better sources that than whack job who thinks HIGHLY of himself and will let you know it in a nano-second.

John November 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Here’s one douche complaining about another douche with a bunch of douches chiming in:

Just another guy November 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

I was happy to see it go down in flames. I voted against it and at my polling station in Greenville, which has a large retirement home right next to it, had 55% of the people voting by 2:30 and every old person was voting against it. I knew it was toast.

As for the Leadership in the Republican Party in G vegas, I don’t see much changing. People are too comfortable up here bc our economy is booming with new construction and jobs and the politicians are too quick to take credit. We will still spend way too much on bike lanes no one will use and on parks no one go to (not talking about Cleveland Park but that baseball park)

UpstateCycler November 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

When you say “bike lanes no one will use [and} parks no one will go to”. Do you really mean lanes YOU don’t use and parks YOU don’t visit?

The Colonel November 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Of course he does but that’s no different than you wanting him to pay for a lane that YOU will use…

FastEddy23 November 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

UpYourCycler would steal the cat food from my cat and put it on his back porch … thus creating more stray cats.

(I say this being a big advocate of a cycle trail system here in Taxifornia … that is now going to cost five times as much as need be.)

vicupstate November 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I pay for books in the Public Library that I don’t read, and recreation venues for leagues that I don’t play in, and I pay FICA taxes when I am not receiving benefits (yet). I pay gas taxes for roads I have never driven on.

We all pay for things that we do use and things we don’t. So does everyone in every civilized nation. What is your point?

As for bike lanes, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is, by far the most utilized recreation element in the entire county. It has over 400,000 users per year, which is about 85% of the county population. It has spurred significant economic development in Greenville city and especially Traveler’s Rest.

Taxes are not simply sucked out of the economy. EVERY project that was proposed would have been given to PRIVATE contractors on a competitive basis. They pay wages to complete those projects and that money turns over in the economy just like any other expenditure.

The next time I am sitting through four stoplight cycles for one light on Woodruff Rd., I’ll be sure to ‘deduct’ the gas I wasted from the ‘savings’ from not having to pay the tax to provide traffic relief. I’ll be sure to deduct my prorated hourly wage rate too. It wouldn’t take long to surpass my ‘savings’.

John November 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Damn, that was well said, Vic!

sparklecity November 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Actually, you can blame sitting in traffic on Woodruff Road due to no fucking GOVERNMENT planning WHATSOEVER.
Those developers know best and didn’t want the govenrment telling them where to put their businesses and it shows what a great job they have done.
I NEVER travel on Woodruff Rd past the north bound side of I-85 and rarely venture on the south bound I-85 side UNLESS it is during the middle of the week.
Yep, Woodruff Road is the finest example of letting business have an unfettered hand if I ever saw one.
On the other hand there is a shitload of people who are a glutton for punishment are frequenting the business on Woodruff Road but I sure as hell AIN”T one!!!

See it firsthand over and over November 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Total horseshit again. Politicians play a very strong role in limiting just where businesses can be located and any suspicion that they want development (and redevelopment) to go where they have personal interests is warranted. Some argue against sprawl so they give these idiots just what they were hoping that they would ask for. It’s all about the dollar that goes into their back pockets.

David Gibble November 19, 2014 at 5:34 am

Swamp Rabbit was the biggest surprise hit ever for Greenville and no government agency can claim credit for being “visionary” about trying to save a defunct railroad line for “public transportation purposes.” Trying to duplicate this or even extend the existing line will not be met with the same success. They simply got lucky by the timing, location and low cost of this project.

Just another guy November 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm

No, I use the parks with my kids but I do NOT use the bike lanes and most bikers I know do not use them either bc that is where all the trash ends up and it pops their tires. SO they go to Donaldson center on a 2 lane road and ride side by side and get pissed if cars dare drive on that road.

Should taxpayers pay for my Y membership? I enjoy working out, just not biking. Not my thing but I have to pay for my membership to the Y. How is that fair?

Careful November 19, 2014 at 9:19 am

The moment you bring up “fair”, you’ve just shifted the battle to their home field.

“Fair” can me a lot of things and is subjective. Best to simply focus on the fact he wants your money to pay for stuff he likes.

FastEddy23 November 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

“… the widening rift within the “Republican” party between true limited government supporters and tax-and-spend liberals. …”

Every tax hike, no matter the reasoning, is in support growing a bigger government.

Every government job displaces (kills) more than three private sector jobs.

One should always know how much extra it will costs for those “infrastructure” projects in private sector jobs: specifically: are those projects being put out to bid by the private sector?

Here in Taxifornia g’ment jobs always win out, even when put out to bid … ‘Cause it the very nature of the g’ment project planning to base the specifications on what g’ment unions require and the g’ment engineers and planners write those specs accordingly.

A perfect example in the region where I reside: The 20 mile long expansion of US Hiway 101 to three lanes has taken more than 16 years and has cost more than five times the original projections … now running above US$100,000,000 per mile. (There are two bridges that have been rebuilt twice and one, the biggest has been rebuilt three times.)

nitrat November 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

YOU are the RINOs.
If a single crazy ass Libertarian had the BALLS to runs as a Libertarian rather than continue the 25+ year long hostile takeover of the once GOP, then you might be worth a damn. But, 99.9% of you/them don’t and you/they aren’t.

FastEddy23 November 19, 2014 at 11:59 am

Not! I’m not registered as such and seldom vote for ’em if given an alternative, sometimes any alternative will do.

Upstate Jim November 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

We didn’t need parks when I was a kid. There was a local garbage dump and we always had fun. And bike lanes. Know what I call an 8 year old hit by a car on his bike – Darwin’s choice.

Bible Thumper November 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm

“This type of hypocrisy infuriates me and it’s another reason why I loathe the Republican Party,” Cook told FITS.
If Cook’s feelings are sincere, he should quit involving himself in the Republican party.

JoshuaCook November 18, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I believe you’re correct. Don’t believe though. They are liars and the Bobby Harrell backed blog has now been exposed. They lost and I won!

Bible Thumper November 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm

I may agree with many of your policies, but not with you on process. I favor open primaries. Let’s face it. The Democratic party is dead in SC. Anything that limits participation in a Republcan primary, essentially disenfranchises them.
You won? Maybe some, but Hayley is Gov and Graham is Senator.

Bob Outlaw November 18, 2014 at 3:08 pm

They shot themselves in the foot when they lied about the tax covering groceries. I would have voted for it because the roads suck here but the grocery lie pissed me off. I also suspect that the roads have been allowed to decay beyond the norm to motivate voters to pass the tax. Now the bastards better fix the roads or they will all be sent packing. As for the City of Greenville, now they are looking at making another run at it but if you look around the roads aren’t that bad in the city limits.

Rex O'Steen November 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm

This activity is a symptom of a chronic problem affecting both politics and how our Boards of Directors manage. Both groups are supposed to have our best interests at heart. But there is no iron hand to check spending is competent, because money has taken control and the middle class is being hollowed out.

Dan Ruck November 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Actually the tax hike almost was approved by voters in Greenville. Just as they voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. I’m very proud of my adopted city. It’s quite progressive in some important ways and I’ve found plenty of positive-minded folks to become friends with. I moved here 10 years ago to enjoy the mountains and other scenery. I’m staying because of the friendships I’ve made.

alvin691 November 18, 2014 at 11:24 pm

It is interesting reading liberals posting on a libertarian blog.

Scooter November 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Anyone voting libertarian is simply wasting their time. They are about as useless as teats on a boar hog.


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