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3007, 2016

SC Pension Under-funding

By |July 30th, 2016|South Carolina, State, Taxes|Comments Off on SC Pension Under-funding

Curtis Loftis: Pension Under-Funding
is Biggest Tax in State History
By Thomas C. Hanson (HansonCommunications.org)
South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis spoke to the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club July 28 on unclaimed money and state’s underperforming pension system, which he has sought to repair.

Loftis said that when he took office in 2011, the SC Treasurer’s Office had not had a full GAAP (Generally Accepted Acounting Principles) audit in 27 years. “There’s not a businessman in the world who could get by with that,” Loftis said. Now, with the audit, and other procedures he as has implemented, he said “the protection level of your money is tremendously better than it used to be.”

The Treasurer’s Office has $525 million in unclaimed funds that it seeks to return to individuals and businesses. Here is the link to check if you have funds that can be returned to you.  https://webprod.cio.sc.gov/SCSTOWeb/mainFrame.do

SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis on unclaimed money and state’s under-performing pension system from Thomas Hanson on Vimeo.

Loftis said that the state’s pension system is a mess, and explained that seventy percent of South Carolina’s retirement money is sent off-shore, where they have different laws and accounting rules. Loftis started repairing this system, and said that he gets good press outside of South Carolina, but within the state, “media tends to go with the establishment, and the establishment says everything is fine.” However, five years later, an independent legislative audit council has agreed that because of poor investment decisions by the investment commission, the pension system has under-performed $7.1 billion.

They have implemented measures to repair the system. Fees that were $465 million a year have been dropped to $300 million, and Loftis expects them to go lower. They have fired managers and renegotiated contracts.

The […]

1908, 2015

Poor Polling: Haley, Gas Tax

By |August 19th, 2015|Dark Horse Strategy, Politics, South Carolina, State, Taxes|1 Comment

Someone is probably getting paid well to do a bad job of polling!
From Dark Horse Strategy Group:
Last night we were fortunate enough to be sitting with a friend when they received a phone call to participate in a poll. He put it on speaker for everyone to hear and we all thought this was going to be one of the presidential campaigns but it wasn’t.

The majority of the questions centered on Nikki Haley and the gas tax. The group conducting the poll gave themselves some obscure name to hide the identity of who is really behind it and their first two questions asked about two groups which are on opposite sides of the gas tax issue; Fix Our Road and Americans for Prosperity, asking participants how they perceive these groups.

They went on to ask opinion questions of Nikki Haley and boy would we love to see those results! They also asked opinion of the Legislature as well as your own representatives, and of course… the Gas Tax.

Our participant stated they “strongly opposed the gas tax” and then the poll went on to numerous questions on how they could possibly change your mind – knowing the following (i.e. this can be a tax swap), how do you now feel about the gas tax, with each question that attempted to change your mind having the following available responses:

Strongly for the gas tax.
Somewhat for the gas tax.
Somewhat against the gas tax.
Strongly against the gas tax.

What makes this especially bad is that not only did someone craft those responses, leaving out the natural answer of “no change” but there are multiple people typically involved in the polling process, so how on earth could a set of so-called professionals all […]

606, 2015

Paying People Not to Work Doesn’t Work

By |June 6th, 2015|North Carolina, Politics, State, Subsidies, Taxes|1 Comment

In 2013, North Carolina became the first to reject federal money for extended unemployment and went the opposite direction by cutting the number of weeks people could remain on unemployment from 26 down to 20… and passed large tax cuts on top of that.  Can you imagine? It seems almost crazy to do such a thing in today’s society, but when you actually do what is proven to work and forget about all the rhetoric the main stream media spins, then great things can happen for a state like North Carolina.
On the Tax Foundation index of business conditions,
North Carolina has been catapulted to 16th from a dismal 44th since 2013.
Here is the report from the Wall Street Journal:
Four years ago North Carolina’s unemployment rate was above 10% and the state still bore the effects of its battering in the recession. Many rural towns faced jobless rates of more than 20%. But in 2013 a combination of the biggest tax-rate reductions in the state’s history and a gutsy but controversial unemployment-insurance reform supercharged the state’s economy and has even helped finance budget surpluses.

The tax cut slashed the state’s top personal income-tax rate to 5.75%, near the regional average, from 7.75%, which had been the highest in the South. The corporate tax rate was cut to 5% from 6.9%. The estate tax was eliminated.

Next came the novel tough-love unemployment-insurance reforms. The state became the first in the nation to reject ‘free’ federal payments for extended unemployment benefits and reduce the weeks of benefits to 20 from 26. The maximum weekly dollar amount of payments, $535, which had been among the highest in the nation, was trimmed to a maximum of $350 a week. As a result, tens […]

2701, 2015

Destructive Death Tax

By |January 27th, 2015|Financial, Taxes|Comments Off on Destructive Death Tax

Great article from the Illinois Policy Council:
The Amazon tax is estimated to bring in more than $200 million in additional annual tax revenue to the state, an amount that is likely to grow. This provides a perfect opportunity to repeal Illinois’ death tax to offset the new revenue growth.
The additional tax revenue Illinois will take in from the Amazon tax should be offset by repealing the state’s most obvious driver of out-migration: the death tax.

Americans consider the death tax to be the single most unfair tax, and nearly 70 percent of Americans polled by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation believe it should be repealed nationally. As the saying goes, “You shouldn’t have to visit the undertaker and the tax man on the same day.”

Not only is the death tax unpopular, but it also is extremely harmful to an economy. The Tax Foundation estimated that the death tax costs the U.S. five times more in GDP than it collects in tax revenue each year. That’s because the death tax shrinks the country’s investment stock, which drives down worker wages and GDP growth. It’s hard to imagine a more callous and harmful way to levy a tax.

At the state level, the effects of the death tax are likely much more harmful to economic growth. A state’s death tax can be easily avoided by moving residency and wealth to a state that doesn’t levy such a tax. Only 18 states impose some form of death tax, with Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina having repealed theirs in the last few years. Full repeal of Tennessee’s death tax will be complete by 2016, meaning that Kentucky will be the southern-most state to impose the harmful tax.

In addition, Maine has proposed repealing […]

2501, 2015

Smoke and Mirrors: Haley Gas Tax

By |January 25th, 2015|Energy, Taxes|2 Comments

I’ve been hearing a lot over the past few days about Governor Haley’s “plan” to fix our roads but the “plan” that was sent out via email seems to be more of an “idea” or “summary” rather than an actual plan. Maybe there’s more somewhere, but based on what little information is provided in this email, she wants all of us to call our legislators and insist the pass a gas tax immediately. Forgive me for my confusion, but didn’t we see the Upstate of South Carolina littered with these signs less than 90 days ago?

Here is the meat of the email Haley sent out:
We proposed three things that, if we do them all at once, will be a win-win-win for South Carolina.

1) Cut our state income tax rate from 7% to 5% over the next decade. That’s a nearly 30% reduction in state income taxes. It will put more money in the pockets of every South Carolinian, letting them keep more of what they earn and put our rate back below those of North Carolina and Georgia.

2) Change the way we spend our infrastructure dollars and get rid of the legislatively elected transportation commission so the condition of South Carolina’s roads is no longer driven by short-sighted regionalism and political horse trading, and we stop wasting our tax money.

3) Increase the gas tax by ten cents over the next three years and dedicate that money entirely toward improving our roads. That will keep our gas tax below both Georgia and North Carolina, and we can do it without harming our economy, because when coupled with the 30% income tax cut, it still represents one of the largest tax cuts in South Carolina […]

2201, 2015

Swinging for the Fence with Statewide Property Tax

By |January 22nd, 2015|Education, Taxes|Comments Off on Swinging for the Fence with Statewide Property Tax

This is the subject matter which will be laying the ground for a new statewide property tax. There will be far more on this to come, but for now, you should brace yourself as there will be no shortage of legislators agreeing to dig even deeper into your pockets. Article taken from the Spartanburg Tea Party website:
Hundreds of millions in new SC taxes based on nothing more than lies
We took a look at this Abbeville County lawsuit ruling back in November. In our post we pointed to these excellent reports:

Eva Moore at Freetimes

Rick Brundrett at TheNerve

And of course at the time everyone knew that this would be the excuse SC lawmakers needed to legislate MORE OF OUR MONEY FROM US!

Lobbyists in Columbia want us to pick up the tab for a huge new statewide property tax. Worse than that, they want taxpayers to roll over and accept the hundreds of millions in new taxes based on nothing more than lies.

Read this carefully. When you hear politicians in Columbia – even Republicans – tell you that a massive new property tax is “court ordered,” know with total certainty that they are lying. Not “kind of” lying, or telling a “little white lie.” Just straight up, ugly lying.

Before you understand the lie, you’ve got to know reality.

In 2014, the State Supreme Court finally ruled on a case (Abbeville et al) that has been dragging on for twenty years between eight school districts and the state. The Court ruled that the General Assembly failed to provide children in these poor, rural districts a “minimally adequate” education.

No surprise there.

What was a surprise, was the Court’s rejection of the idea that participating districts provide shameful educational quality because they don’t […]

1710, 2014

No Legislative Fix for Greenville Grocery Tax

By |October 17th, 2014|Taxes|3 Comments

Did they know or didn’t they (Greenville County Council) that the tax increase on the ballot would include a new tax on groceries? What a dilemma they are faced with: admit you did know and you look like a liar, especially after sending out mailers and other information specifically stating it did not include groceries. Admit you didn’t know and you look incompetent, and if you are not competent enough to properly word a referendum to exclude taxing groceries, then how are the people supposed to have confidence in how tax dollars are spent and why would we entrust them with even more?

Now that the grocery tax has been exposed, it makes it unlikely this referendum will pass as it stands. Knowing this, some members of Greenville County Council are now promising to remove the grocery tax portion, but unfortunately they are making a promise they cannot deliver on. We have seen this movie before: Politicians promise to fix something that is out of their control, so they can then turn and blame another political body and throw their hands up and say, “so sorry, we really tried…”

The fix these councilmen are trying to make you believe they will try is a legislative fix. They want you to believe they will send this to Columbia and surely the good senators and house members will remove this grocery tax, right? Nope! The fact is, there will be plenty of legislators who will want to remove it, BUT once the voters have their say at the ballot box and they have actually voted to have a grocery tax, the will of the people will not be undone. The last thing legislators want to be seen doing is […]

1710, 2014

Greenville Grocery Tax

By |October 17th, 2014|Taxes|6 Comments

Dear Greenville County Voters,

I recently learned that the referendum on the November 4, 2014 ballot which will ask you to raise county sales taxes by one cent, ostensibly to fund roads, will affect things very differently than you may have been lead to believe.

The ordinance, if passed, will add one cent to the sales tax for groceries, among other items. This, of course, was not how the proposal was explained when the ordinance for it was being pushed through County Council, and I hope that it would have changed some minds if it was included in the explanation. Groceries, which are currently not taxed, will be taxed if the referendum passes.

I do believe that sometimes mistakes can be made, but I find it curious that this mistake, as with most, will be detrimental to the taxpayers. Nonetheless, the “mistake” means that for some period, and perhaps a long period, Greenville County taxpayers will pay taxes on their groceries. I understand that Greenville County Council may ask Columbia to “fix” their “mistakes”. You and I both know things rarely get “fixed” in Columbia, especially when it comes to taxes. Anytime something needs to be “fixed” it usually ends up being worse for the taxpayers, and this likely will end up the same.

It is troubling that Greenville County Council mishandled the ordinance and that it allows for a tax on groceries. I had hoped that they would do the right thing and pull the ordinance from the ballot instead of just asking the voters to “trust them”. I cannot assure voters that Columbia will “fix” the problem and, indeed, Columbia could actually make it worse. However, if the voters approve this tax increase, there will be nothing […]

2209, 2014

The 110,000 Penny Tax

By |September 22nd, 2014|Taxes|Comments Off on The 110,000 Penny Tax

Since they want to talk pennies with their “Penny for Progress” campaign then let’s talk pennies … they may be asking for just a penny but they are going to take far more than that. Penny for Progress is nothing more than a very slick marketing campaign to allow government to further pillage the taxpayers’ wallets.

What they are asking for in the November Referendum amounts to nearly 30 billion pennies. There are about 7 billion people in the world, so every man, woman and child on the entire planet could give a penny and it wouldn’t even come close to paying the bill for their 92 projects. Since all this group of tax collectors really has to draw from is the pool of folks in Lexington County and the population is approximately 270,406 – then it will take nearly 110,000 pennies from every single individual in Lexington (or around a half million pennies per your average family) to cover the costs of these projects. Is this starting to sound like real money yet?

Truly think about how you vote, as you are not just voting on a penny, but rather a 17% tax increase, taking on debt in the name of the government AND, if they cannot average a score of 110,000 pennies per taxpayer, a Yes vote will give them the blanket authority to raise taxes on ALL property until they get what they need.

Penny for your thoughts?

1709, 2014

We the People Own the Debts of our Government

By |September 17th, 2014|Taxes|1 Comment

This November, voters in Lexington County aren’t voting on a “penny” as much as they are voting for a tremendous amount of debt. What you will be voting on is listed beneath this article.

It is important to note they actually had the word “unlimited” in the original phrasing. I would argue that a citizen’s definition of “sufficient” GREATLY differs from the government’s definition of “sufficient.” Sufficient to the government obviously does mean unlimited.

Because the government doesn’t have a dime (or penny in this case) unless they take it from us, they also do not have any debt. We the people own the debts of our government. The question you will cast your vote on in Lexington County should be stated as to what it really is: “Do you agree to taking on even more debt in the name of your government? Yes or No?”

Take note below, that you are voting to increase the Sales Tax approximately 17% and increase the Use Tax and agreeing to $150 Million in Debt and Giving County Council the Blanket Authority to Raise Taxes on ALL Property as they deem “sufficient.” This is like signing a blank check and handing it over to a stranger, except it’s worse as you are placing it in the hands of a government entity which has had an approximate 22% increase in their tax base over the last decade and still demands more money. If not now, when do we finally say enough is enough?

 
Ballot information from poorly named website, Pennies for Progress.

Section 2.01

Clarification and Amendment

The phrase “a sufficient” is hereby substituted for “an unlimited” in Section 4.01 of the Ordinance and in the Final Ballot Question, attached as Exhibit B to the Ordinance. […]