|| By STEVE FORBES || Taxes are on almost everyone’s mind the middle of April, but this year many South Carolinians are not thinking about income tax. They are concerned about a new tax the state legislature wants to impose on cellphone users to fund subsidies for politically connected phone companies that provide an outdated service to a minority of South Carolina subscribers. And with just a few weeks left in the legislative session, this ill-conceived assault on consumers is still very much alive in Columbia.
You have probably heard about this tax hike proposal. It is Senate Bill 277, a piece of special interest legislation that would tax mobile phone subscribers to underwrite landline phone service for the ever-declining number of South Carolinians who choose to use that older technology.
That’s an understandably hard pill to swallow for many cellphone users, as landline providers already receive about $40 million a year in taxpayer-funded state subsidies, on top of an estimated $100 million annually given to them by a similar federal program.
If that doesn’t sound right to you, just wait, there’s more! The phone companies which receive these very significant sums of public money have never even been asked to demonstrate a need for government assistance to keep landlines going, and would not be required to do so by the new tax plan.
This is not tax and spend government. It’s tax and give it away, with little or nothing to show in return.
The existing state subsidy is funded by a tax on about a million landline customers in South Carolina, who’s numbers are shrinking every year as subscribers switch to newer communications tools. S. 277 would target the 4.5 million cellphone users (who gain no benefit from the existence of landlines), adding an additional monthly tax to the state and local taxes, municipal license tax, and federal USF charge that inflate their bills now.
I’m proud to serve on the board of directors of the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that advocates against unnecessary, unfair taxes like this cellphone tax proposal. You can visit their website (www.ntu.org) and use the online action center to contact your South Carolina Senator and House member, to tell them that you expect them to stand up against this nonsensical new tax.
And don’t forget Gov. Nikki Haley as well. There’s not much time left to stop S. 277 in the legislature. Remind Governor Haley that she campaigned on conservative principles. If this legislation does make it to her desk, her veto will prove that she intends to live up to her conservative words. South Carolinians need that now more than ever.
Steve Forbes is the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media.
holy fuck! is Fits where rich old codger bastards go to die? ron paul AND this cocksucker? where’s dick cheney?
how much are land line providers paying legislatora?
I’ve never liked Steve Forbes. For someone so rich can’t he afford to hire writers? Also a plastic surgeon will greatly improve his chances with women, although I don’t know how it will help unless his personality can also be changed. This is just a woman’s perspective.
This article fails to mention who will be handling the money. Why it’s the Office of Regulatory Staff, of course! An seldom talked about agency, led by one of the slimiest and most crooked political insiders in all of South Carolina, Dukes Scott!
This is the same agency tasked with keeping electric, gas, and water/wastewater rates in check for millions of South Carolinians (we know how good a job they do with that). Instead, Dukes gets in bed with every company he “regulates” and cozies up to every establishment politico, of both parties, and does their bidding.
Everyone reading this should contact their senators and reps, and urge them to kill this bill.
Everyone hates the Dukes:
TB you watch too much TV ;)
Don’t forget about Uber! ORS has a proud history of accomplishing little while looking like they do a lot. Dukes might have one of the biggest Napoleonic complexes in human history, but when he’s not treating his staff with indifference and scorn, he’s busy kissing ass at the statehouse!
You’re absolutel right, Dawn! The way he treats his employees is absolutely deplorable! He’s quick to swoop-in and take credit for everything positive, but when the going gets tough, he’s nowhere to be found.
I guess there is one positive aspect to all of this, more job security for me in human resources as the revolving door at this agency continues to spin.
Marty, Dawn, and Doreen, I’m afraid yall will have to speak up. We can’t hear you through the heavy fog of smugness, self-importance, and arrogance coming out of your offices. You’ll have to speak louder!
Job security? Didn’t I see you come out of Cynthia Dannels office last Monday morning?
LOL .. The Office of Regulatory Stuff … right down the hall from the Small Animal Administration, Snakes and Lizards Working Group.
Marty sums up a lot of my concerns about the agency. It’s also worth adding that I have overheard Dukes issuing orders to department directors to destroy records incase of a FOIA request on multiple occasions.
Woah! Steve Forbes posting on FITSNEWS. Hope our politicians are taking notes. If Steve Forbes is submitting Op-Ed, must mean a LOT of people are reading FITS.
Haters will hate. I am glad to see him posting here, hope he continues!
Get off your knees
Steve has zipped up and left the building.
Oh sweetie, you must be speaking from experience? I don’t have knee callouses – I digress, you know far more about the knee bending than I do.
How do you know he zipped up? Did you help him? Please do tell.
“This is not tax and spend government. It’s tax and give it away, with little or nothing to show in return.”
“There’s not much time left to stop S. 277 in the legislature. Remind Governor Haley that she campaigned on conservative principles. If this legislation does make it to her desk, her veto will prove that she intends to live up to her conservative words. South Carolinians need that now more than ever.”
Like this guy really gives a flying sheee-iiiiit about South Carolina.
Love ya Rocky, but as someone else said, “everyone on this page has a game baby!”
Maybe he is trying to connect with people who have the same game? I know at one point in time when I used FB regularly, I wanted to connect with like minded people across the states. Later, I only wanted to connect with people inside the state, then I decided to screw it – I can articles of interest to comment on. :)
That SC even hit their radar is remarkable, not necessarily in a good way. But surely you can agree with him? Or do you prefer more taxes?
What the hey?? Aren’t there any rich left in South Carolina that the taxsucking legislators can soak??
How come these republicrat hyenas are screwing the poor in SC. Is this another “Graham to the rescue” ploy? … and just as He is making a bid for the high chair, too??
Another thing this article fails to mention is his failed candidacy for POTUS and his campaigning for Ron Paul. Hmmm….I might vote for him, with an update on what he REALLY believes, if he ran on an Independent ticket. No games, just facts.