A Response: Sanford's Strategy Lacks Clarity and Direction
March 1, 2002
In his article "Sanford Plan Sets Strategic Course for S.C. Economy" on Commonvoice.com, the guest columnist attempted to explain why he thinks Mark Sanford's economic plan is the best solution to the problems ailing our state. He claims that Sanford's income tax elimination plan will increase the attractiveness of the state for businesses and families, keep young people from fleeing the state and increase the overall wealth of the state. That's a nice smokescreen, but the voters of South Carolina are intelligent enough to see the flaws in your support of Mark Sanford's plan.
First, the author makes reference to how Sanford's plan has "forced competitors for the Republican nomination to respond." I am aware of only 2 of the 7 GOP candidates for governor in South Carolina who have revealed an economic plan for when they are elected into office: Mark Sanford's income tax elimination plan and Attorney General Charlie Condon's property tax elimination proposal.
None of the other candidates running for the GOP nomination for governor have even attempted to reveal an economic package for when they become governor. So, it's only ONE "competitor" who has a tax plan.
Second, Charlie Condon's proposal was not released as a "counterproposal" to Mark Sanford's plan. Rather, Condon has been promoting his proposal to end property taxes on homes, cars and businesses to the citizens of South Carolina in Town Hall meetings all across the state to find out what people think for over a month.
He is the only candidate who has the courage to listen to what real people have to say about the taxes they pay. If the response he is getting at these meetings is any indication, then the citizens of South Carolina are fed up with paying too much money in property taxes that go up year after year for the rest of their lives. The overwhelming majority of them want property taxes abolished constitutionally! I haven't hear this kind of outcry with the income tax.
Third, the author asserts that Charlie Condon's property tax elimination proposal doesn't come "close to matching the former Congressman's in either foresight or feasibility." I strongly disagree.
From what I understand, Mark Sanford's plan takes a minimum of 5 years before any tax relief is felt by the citizens of South Carolina, with a total of at least 18 years before the income tax is completely gone (it could be even longer based on the economic triggers Sanford admits in his plan during bad economic years).
Even if he was elected into office this year, Mark Sanford may not be the governor of South Carolina five years down the road. What's going to stop the next administration from overturning the elimination of income taxes?
Charlie Condon's proposal, on the other hand, doesn't make you wait 5 years or 18 years to feel the full effects of his tax cut. He doesn't even make you wait a year. Under his proposal, personal property taxes will be completely eliminated IMMEDIATELY upon passage of the law, which will be supported by a constitutional amendment to prevent property taxes from ever coming back to South Carolina again! Does Sanford believe in his plan so strongly that he is willing to back it with a constitutional amendment?
Fourth, the author claims that Sanford's income tax cuts will "not be painless." Yeah, no kidding!
Besides having to wait at least two decades before feeling the full effects of the tax cut, Sanford's plan expects South Carolinians to shell out an extra nickel for every gallon of gas they buy! That's not a tax cut, but a tax increase. Who is Sanford trying to fool?
The author may think the uproar over this tax increase is "superficial," but this will really hurt people who are already struggling financially. Don't you think those taxpayers would like to keep that extra money in their pockets while they are waiting (and waiting...and waiting...and waiting...) on Sanford's plan to finally give them some relief in 5-18 years?
Also, the people paying that new tax won't have any "expanded incomes" for many years! Why is Mark Sanford willing to increase the taxes of South Carolinians just for the sake of having a rainy day fund for when his plan fails to do what it has promised?
It seems to me that Mark Sanford's economic strategy for South Carolina lacks clarity and direction. There are just too many unanswered questions surrounding what his plan is supposed to do for hardworking taxpayers. That's a lack of communication that is a clear indication of the kind of leader he would be for South Carolina.
Charlie Condon's plan is simple: the complete elimination of all property taxes on cars, homes and businesses. He will accomplish this through shoring up the sales tax loopholes, capping adminstrative costs at 25%, cutting and consolidating unnecessary government agencies and a slight increase in the sales tax.
This proposal is simple, but brilliant. It is the best way to get rid of a regressive and unfair tax and to put hundreds of dollars back in the pockets of South Carolina taxpayers!
The economy will be the big winner as people and business owners will get to keep that money they have been paying in property taxes.
You want a real economic boom? Wait until you see what happens when Charlie Condon's proposal becomes law! Then, you'll be glad he was elected as the new governor of South Carolina in 2002!