SC Gimmick Tax Cuts Are Back

Enjoy “tax relief” while you can …

In South Carolina, underemployed and overburdened citizens don’t get real tax relief.  Instead they get an annual gimmick.

We’re referring, of course, to the “sales tax holiday” – an early August institution which temporarily suspends sales tax on various school-related items (clothing, shoes, book bags, computers, etc.) for a period of seventy-two hours.

The “holiday” begins at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Friday (a.k.a. tomorrow) and runs through midnight on Sunday (August 5).

What about the other 8,688 hours of the year?  During those hours, taxpayers are stuck paying an excessively burdensome sales tax rate – 7.37 percent on average but as high as nine percent in some parts of the state.  That is the eighteenth-highest rate in America, according to the Tax Foundation.

Meanwhile, dirt poor South Carolinians are also paying the eleventh-highest income tax rate in the nation (and the highest rate in the southeast).

And steadily increasing gas taxes (although our founding editor is trying to do something about that).

And we wonder why our employment situation is deteriorating …

As advocates for taxpayers (and the free market), this news site has historically railed agains this “gimmick relief.”

“Our state is substituting the appearance of tax relief for the real thing – and getting away with it because our people are too dumb to know the difference,” we wrote six years ago.

Sad, but true …

Anyway, during the 2017 sales tax holiday shoppers saved an estimated $2,275,170, according to data provided by the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR).  That’s up 8.6 percent from 2016’s savings of $2,093,463.

Is this good?  Absolutely … 

We will never oppose reforms that put more money into the pockets of consumers (and keep money out of the corrupt, wasteful hands of big government).  Our beef?  That this “reform” is not available the other fifty-one weekends of the year.  And isn’t available on all items subject to the sales tax.

Actually, that’s not our real beef … our real beef is that South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” General Assembly remains hopelessly addicted to taxingborrowing and spending on a government that produces consistently abysmal outcomes across the board.

Accordingly, there is no appetite for broad-based tax cuts targeting economic growth … there are only gimmicks.

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All the annual “sales tax holiday” does is take citizens’ eyes off of the increasingly anti-competitive climate in which they live.  And while it does provide some small measure of desperately needed short-term relief for many struggling families, it doesn’t even remotely begin to address the real issue …the fact we have so many struggling families in the Palmetto State in the first place.

That is the real travesty … and it’s going to take more than gimmicks to substantively address it.

Anyway, for those of you looking to learn more about which items are included on the tax-exempt list for the holiday, SCDOR has set up a helpful webpage with that information (and a lot more).

So check it out so that you can maximize your relief …

More importantly, though, it’s time South Carolinians insisted upon what we have long championed – a fundamental reorientation of state government’s approach to taxation and spending that eliminates unnecessary government and routes the proceeds from these cuts to real relief for the middle class consumers who empower the Palmetto State’s economy.

Until that happens, don’t expect South Carolina to experience much in the way of #Winning … no matter what its establishment politicians say.



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