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Gimmick SC “Tax Relief” Is Back




As of 12:01 a.m. EDT this morning (August 4), the state of South Carolina is on holiday … from state sales taxes on a select list of school-related items.

Is this a good thing?  Sure … at least until midnight this Sunday (August 6) when the “holiday” draws to a close.

At that point, Palmetto State residents must go back to paying some of the highest sales taxes in the southeast.

So to recap: For 72 hours, sales taxes in South Carolina are suspended on various school-related items (clothing, shoes, book bags, computers, etc.).  During the other 8,688 hours of the year, though, you’re stuck with an excessively burdensome sales tax rate – 7.37 percent on average but as high as nine percent in some parts of the state.

That’s the 17th highest average sales tax rate in the nation … and its assessed on citizens whose incomes have historically ranked among the bottom five states in America.

Sound like a good deal?  Of course not …

In addition to disproportionately high sales taxes, South Carolinians also pay a seven percent marginal rate on all income over $14,550.  That’s the eleventh-highest rate in the nation and the highest rate in the southeast.

For years, this website has blasted the sales tax holiday as nothing more than a gimmick – something that takes citizens’ eyes off of the anti-competitive climate in which they live.

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

That’s a lot of “assailing.”  But with good reason …

“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,” we wrote last year.  “The other 51 weekends?  They’re screwed.”

Indeed they are …

According to the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR)’s official sales tax holiday website, shoppers in South Carolina will save an estimated $2-3 million during the holiday weekend.

Again … that’s good.  Not great, but good.  But imagine this: What if we were about to stimulate even broader swaths of our state’s consumer economy … and do it year round.

That would be great …

As we noted in last month’s sales tax coverage, this website has long believed that the key to empowering the economy is incentivizing consumerism.  And as far as we’re concerned, incentivizing consumerism begins and ends with providing tax relief for the middle class.

South Carolina’s “Republican” leaders don’t agree, though.  Instead of providing real tax relief, they have become addicted to excessive taxingspending and borrowing – and crony capitalist “economic development” scams.

Is their approach working?  No … not at all.

Not economicallyacademically, or with regards to infrastructurepublic safety or other core functions of government.

It’s time to give the free market a crack at this … and for more than just three days out of the year.





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