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“Gimmick” Tax Break Is Back




This website has never hidden our opposition to South Carolina’s “faux tax cut,” the so-called “Sales Tax Holiday” weekend.

(ICYMI … here’s our column from four years ago assailing it, here’s our column from three years ago assailing it, and here’s our column from last year assailing it).

Assail, assail, assail …

What’s our beef?  Basically we believe this holiday preys on the gullible, dirt poor people of this state … offering them the illusion of living in a taxpayer-friendly state when they, in fact, live in big government hell.

“We have no problem with the savings provided during this holiday, our problem is with the anti-competitive tax climate that exists in our low-income, small-workforce state,” we wrote last year.

For the past seventeen years, Palmetto State taxpayers have saved (collectively) a few million dollars every year on specific items exempted from state and local sales taxes.

This “holiday” will go into effect again at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Friday, August 5, 2015 – and run through Sunday, August 7 at midnight.

Again, we don’t mind seeing a few million dollars of taxpayer money being kept out of government’s grubby paws, but there’s a problem: South Carolina taxpayers only derive this modest benefit one weekend of the year.  The other 51 weekends?  They’re screwed.

Our position on taxes has always been simple: They should exist only insofar as they are necessary to subsidize the core functions of government.

To that extent, they should be collected as fairly as possible – with an eye on economic competitiveness.

This starts with the income tax – which in South Carolina is set at an abnormally high seven percent for all income above $14,550.  That is not competitive … in fact it is the eleventh highest rate in the nation (and the highest in the southeast).

South Carolina’s average 7.22 percent state and local sales tax rate is not competitive, either … ranking No. 18 nationally.

Bottom line?  Our economy is never going to advance in such an anti-competitive climate.  In fact, it’s not advancing (see here and here).  What is advancing?  Government … and corporate cronyism.

We’ve said it before: If South Carolina ever expects to create jobs, raise income levels and expand its consumer economy – it must create a more favorable economic climate.