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Tom Davis: Taxpayers’ “Stonewall”




S.C. Senator Tom Davis is the most hated man inside the South Carolina State House right now … but he’s becoming increasingly beloved by a broad spectrum of supporters outside of the building.

For the second straight legislative session, the second-term lawmaker from Beaufort County, S.C. has had the audacity to suggest state government should (imagine this) stop woefully mismanaging and politicizing its infrastructure spending.  More to the point, Davis has conclusively proven South Carolina doesn’t need to raise taxes on gasoline in order to manage its infrastructure needs.

This common sense crusade has angered virtually everyone in power in the Palmetto State – legislative leaders, party officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, crony capitalists, members of the liberal mainstream media … you name it.

All of these forces want to keep the waste and corruption going.  In fact they want to accelerate it … because in far too many cases doing so directly benefits them.

For the second year in a row, Davis is mounting a filibuster on the floor of the South Carolina Senate against a proposed increase in the gasoline tax.  Last year he successfully beat back the proposed tax increase, and he’s vowed not to surrender the podium until lawmakers agree to shelve the gasoline tax hike … permanently.

Make no mistake: This is the gas tax debate.

A vote to end Davis’ filibuster – which would require 24 members of the Senate to endorse  – is a vote to raise taxes.  Because if Davis’ filibuster is broken, that’s exactly what will happen.

Support for Davis’ efforts has come from all over the political spectrum: Conservatives and liberals, Tea Partiers and environmentalists, libertarians and even a handful of establishment “Republicans.”

Well … one establishment “Republican.”

In addition to the heaping praise he’s received from us, the far left leader of the S.C. Coastal Conservation League (SCCL) recently wrote that Davis’s so-called obstructionism “may save the state’s transportation system.”

Specifically, he noted Davis’ filibuster “goes directly to the heart of the challenge South Carolina faces – how to restructure the agencies that control billions of transportation dollars and eradicate the provincialism and back room deals that have created the problems we face today.”

Amen to that.

Even those who disagree with Davis have come to admire the tenacious, intelligent and principled advocacy he has brought to the debate. One has even suggested a nickname for the feisty lawmaker.

“There stands Davis like a stone wall,” one GOP Senator remarked to us last week, reprising a famous remark made about Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson during the first battle of Manassas by Confederate brigadier general Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr.

“The enemy is driving him – and he is giving them the bayonet!” the lawmaker added.

Thank God someone is …

Dirt poor South Carolinians cannot afford to pay more out of pocket.  They already pay a higher percentage of their incomes on fuel than residents of all but two other states (Mississippi and West Virginia).  Additionally, the liberal leaders trying to sneak this tax through the back door are lying about the so-called “shortfall” in infrastructure funding a gas tax hike would ostensibly address.

Here’s the bottom line: Taxpayers have nearly doubled the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT)’s base budget over the last six years – yet our roads and bridges are still a joke.  Why?  Because the SCDOT remains as corrupt as ever – picking projects based on politics, not needs.

Lawmakers want to keep all that failed system going … because it benefits them.

Davis?  He’s insisting lawmakers fix the flawed structure – and then make do with the ample amount of money taxpayers have entrusted to them (roughly $1 billion in new money, on average, each year for the past seven years).

Astoundingly, such common sense is anathema to the political class in Columbia, S.C. – which has made ending Davis’ filibuster the top priority of the 2016 session.

Will they succeed?  We certainly hope not …

Tom Davis’ filibuster isn’t just about stopping a totally unnecessary gas tax increase, it’s about putting a corrupt system on trial – following the money and taking a magnifying glass to the shady deals, wasteful bureaucracy and self-serving projects lurking just under the surface of the reflexive “Fix Our Roads” chant.

Of course on a more fundamental level it’s about even more than that …

It’s about one politician – at long last – finally showing some backbone and standing strong against the status quo.

Giving them hell, even.

The pages of this website are littered with tales of politician after politician – in both Columbia and Washington, D.C – who sell out their principles for the approval of the powers-that-be (including Davis’ former mentor, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford).  In fact these ideological betrayals have become so commonplace nowadays we’re barely surprised to see even the most “conservative” politicians surrender their votes to the self-serving, free-spending, liberty-hating, taxpayer-draining establishment.

Davis has had every opportunity to do just that during this debate.  In fact he is facing inordinate pressure from all corners of the capital building to do just that.

But he’s not.

He’s standing like a stonewall for what he knows to be right.