Little evidence state overtaxes its residents

info@islandpacket.comDecember 23, 2012 

In his Dec. 14 column, one of the arguments state Sen. Tom Davis used against repealing Act 388 was that "state government takes far too much money out of the pockets of South Carolinians."

The revenue numbers he used to support that argument are misleading. It might be true that in the past three years, general fund expenditures have increased by 19 percent to $6.08 billion, but he compared today's spending to spending at the depth of the recession.

He conveniently failed to note that just five years ago -- before the great recession slashed state tax revenue -- expenditures exceeded $7.1 billion. General fund outlays today are more than $1 billion less than they were in fiscal year 2007. This is hardly evidence of over-taxation.

Meanwhile, thousands of state and local government jobs have been eliminated or left unfilled because of the tax revenue decrease, and we have seen substantial reductions in library hours, emergency services budgets, road maintenance and state services to the aged and needy. Objective statistics do not support his argument that the state overtaxes its residents.

According to the Tax Foundation, South Carolina ranks 41st in the overall tax burden placed on its residents. Our state fuel tax rate ranks 47th in the country and according to our transportation secretary, we are facing a $30 billion deficit in maintaining our roads and bridges over the next 20 years. Davis' proposals would cut government services even further.

Is that the kind of state we want?

Paul Baird

Hilton Head Island

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