SC House Leaders Threaten GOP Members Over Modest Tax Cut

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRY TO TRIM GOVERNMENT EVEN A LITTLE BIT IN “CONSERVATIVE” SOUTH CAROLINA … The State of South Carolina – whose “Republican” leadership has been growing the annual budget for state government by roughly $1 billion a year over the past six years – is poised to add…


The State of South Carolina – whose “Republican” leadership has been growing the annual budget for state government by roughly $1 billion a year over the past six years – is poised to add another $1.3 billion in new spending this coming fiscal year.

This influx of new cash comes as these “conservatives” clamor for new tax hikes to raise even more revenue … and while their crony capitalist overlords issue fresh threats if they refuse to do so.

Is anyone suggesting so much as a dime of that money be returned to taxpayers? 

No …

In fact were it not for one State Senator’s courageous filibuster, a tax hike would have been rammed through last year.

Last week, though, the dynamics of the debate shifted ever so slightly.  S.C. Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville – the GOP “majority” leader in the S.C. House of Representatives – proposed a modest, one-time tax cut of $130 million last week, or roughly one-tenth of the new money that’s available to be spent in what is shaping up to be at least a $27.2 billion budget for FY 2016-17.

For those of you keeping score at home, Bannister’s proposed tax cut amounts to less than one half of one percent of the state’s total proposed spending plan – 0.47 percent, to be precise.

Is that real tax relief?  Of course not … but every penny we can keep from flowing into South Carolina’s sprawling government is a penny that stays in the marketplace, so we support Bannister’s efforts.

Who doesn’t support him?  Fiscally liberal S.C. House ways and means chairman Brian White – an ethically challenged “Republican” leader whose powerful committee gets the first crack at the state budget each year.

According to our sources, White and several of his top lieutenants on the ways and means committee have been overtly threatening Bannister and other lawmakers who have spoken up in support of his modest tax cut.

“The message has been clear,” one Upstate GOP lawmaker told us. “They’ve told us if we want the tax cut, they are taking the money out of our districts.”

In other words, anyone who backs Bannister is going to deprive their constituents of taxpayer-funded largesse (to the extent tax dollars ever really filter back in a meaningful way to the people who provide them).

How did tax cut supporters respond to these threats?

The reaction has been mixed, we’re told: Some GOP lawmakers immediately reconsidered their support for the tax cut after receiving the warning, while others apparently told White and his lieutenants to “go to hell.”

Making matters even more interesting?  White and his allies aren’t just threatening money for specific districts – they are also allegedly holding the so-called “Bruce Bannister tax cut” over the heads of state agencies seeking funding increases.

We’ve spoken with representatives of three different state agencies who told us members of the ways and means committee referred them to Bannister when they inquired about specific funding requests.

“It wasn’t implied, it was stated definitively,” one senior bureaucrat who works for a large state agency told us. “We were told to get him to drop his tax cut or else our projects weren’t going to get funded.”

A fourth agency also reportedly received threats, but one of its top executives pleaded ignorance when we reached out to them for comment.

Wow …

All this over $130 million?  Less than half a percent of the budget?

We don’t usually have nice things to say about Bannister.  And let’s be clear: His proposed one-time cut is so marginal as to border on the inconsequential.  But the threats and cajoling taking place at the S.C. State House following him floating the notion of sending just a sliver of money back to the taxpayers is worth considering.

If our liberal “Republican” leaders react like this to a nothing burger tax cut … imagine the apoplexy that would ensue if someone at the State House were to really start pushing broad-based tax relief.


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Felicia March 2, 2016 at 11:05 am

I’ve been impressed with Bannister lately. We finally have someone trying to advance conservative ideas in the House leadership.

Boom goes the dynamite March 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

Bye, Felicia!

Mike Holder March 2, 2016 at 11:57 am

Several years ago there was a budget surplus. Then Gov Mark Sanford wanted to return it to the taxpayers. The legislators said noooooooooooo! I will always remember that about Sanford.

Diogenes March 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

So in your zest for tax cuts, you conveniently forgot the part about Sanford not being able to keep his dick in his pants on Father’s Day weekend?

Who Cares March 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm

im more concerned with my wallet than his member

Flip March 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Both as governor and as a congressman he can use your wallet to pay for trips to find new holes to stick his member in.

Crooner March 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Did you see Brian Hicks’ piece in the P&C about most of the SC Budget money being Fed money that just passes through? We are apparently takers down here.

Rocky Verdad March 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Is it me, or is this sort of like the start of last year? Ground hog Year?

Taxpayer March 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Our money is their money & they know it.

There’s nothing we can do until one day the riff-raff pull out their pitchforks and give them all what they really deserve.

erneba March 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

After a long study and many hours in conference, the politicians offered justification for raising taxes:
‘It’s Wednesday, let’s raise taxes.”

tomstickler March 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Tax cuts for whom? That’s the problem with the “net neutral” proposal to raise the gasoline tax that also gives a tax cut to the top brackets.

Every other Republican “tax cut” plan follows the same pattern: take from the poor and give to the rich.

And before the usual trolls speculate about my socio-economic status, I could buy and sell Bernie Sanders three or four times.

Flip March 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Sanders doesn’t have a high net worth though. Among other congressmen he’s fairly poor.

bigfootbuilt March 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

The poor don’t pay taxes

Larry March 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

The pension plan needs money and if we pay now it cost less than if we pay later. Loan the money to the pension plan and if it were to perform better in future years, give it back to the general fund.


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