Fiscally Conservative Hodges?
January 10, 2002
It was recently reported in The State that key elected leaders in South Carolina have agreed not to raise taxes in the fiscal year 2002 because so many South Carolina residents are struggling with unemployment and the recession. Conversely, the article went on to say that tax cuts would not be coming any time soon, either. This is not good news for South Carolinians who were hoping to be able to keep more of their hard earned money this year. But this has not stopped a certain Democratic candidate for governor from using the tax issue as a major issue in his candidacy.
Riding high on the implementation of his "education" lottery in South Carolina (see my 1-8-02 article called "The Lottery Will Devastate South Carolina's Economy" on The Upstate Common Voice), Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges has gotten into the “no new taxes” act. He recently commented that "the worst thing you can do is talk about raising taxes during a time when you are in a recession. You just don't do that.” You just don’t do it either when your pre-election approval numbers are in the 30% range! With Gov. Hodges running for his political life in the upcoming 2002 gubernatorial race, it looks like he is going to act just like every other Democrat in an election year by co-opting Republican ideas to try to win re-election. Have you ever heard of a Democrat who ran away from a tax increase? Me neither! Except in an election year, of course.
The article in The State also quotes Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, another Democrat, who is a member of the House budget committee. She says that South Carolina is missing a window of opportunity by not raising taxes. Finally, an honest diehard liberal (not even the illegitimate Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle would be that bold)! She says, "The political reality is very few elected officials will take a chance on a position that will cost them votes. I don't see the political courage on either side of the aisle. I don't see it coming from any source." With all due respect Ms. Cobb-Hunter, if raising taxes is so important to you, then why don’t you make it the key issue in your campaign for re-election? Have the courage to run on the issues you really believe in and see how far it gets you. Here is the perfect campaign slogan for your political campaign:
Attention Orangeburg County residents: Want higher taxes? Re-elect Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter!
The decision to not raise taxes has nothing to do with courage in an election year. It has everything to do with doing what is best for South Carolinians during this difficult economic time. What the residents of South Carolina need now more than ever is to keep taxes where they are or, better yet, lowering them! The economy needs to be stimulated, not stifled. If South Carolina legislators decided to “courageously” raise taxes as Ms. Cobb-Hunter suggests, then expect the economic slowdown to to be accentuated. Also, the resulting voter backlash would mean that many incumbent Democrats and Republicans would be in serious jeopardy of losing their seats. That includes Gov. Jim Hodges.
If Gov. Hodges can miraculously pull out a victory in the November 2002 governor’s race running on this "no new taxes" issue, then don’t expect to hear him touting his plan to keep taxes the same or advocating tax cuts for 2003 and beyond. Rest assured that your taxes will most definitely be increased every year he is governor if he wins re-election. A liberal chameleon like every other Democrat in an election year, conservative Hodges in 2002 will quickly transform himself back into the liberal Hodges in 2003 we have all had to endure for the past 4 years. Gov. Hodges, have the courage to campaign on the tax issue like you really believe!
Attention South Carolina residents: Want higher taxes? Re-elect Gov. Jim Hodges!