Columbia, SC — People dig through desk drawers searching for receipts. Do-it-yourselfers download software. And folks in green, styrofoam liberty crowns dance by the roadside with signs pointing toward nearby tax services.
It’s tax-filing season again, when citizens hope to get back as much as possible in state and federal tax refunds.
However, think of your reaction after this digging, downloading and dancing, you find you’re eligible for a substantial federal tax refund, but your tax preparer told the IRS to keep it.
“What?” you exclaim. “That’s money I paid in federal taxes, and I want it back.” No doubt most South Carolinians would react the same way.
So why are state leaders turning up their noses at billions of federal dollars for high ticket programs, such as school reform initiatives and Medicaid expansion?
Education Superintendent Mick Zais has declined almost $200 million in federal school reform funds. Ironically, South Carolina will implement some of the school reform measures, but with state taxes only. Rejecting the federal funds means we’re paying twice.
Today, state leaders are demonstrating this same cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face attitude by refusing to accept federal Medicaid expansion money allocated as part of the 2012 Affordable Care Act.
“As long as I am governor, South Carolina will not implement the public policy disaster that is Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,” Gov. Nikki Haley declared in her State of the State address, to enthusiastic legislative applause.
Due to her veto threat, the General Assembly is piecing together $83 million in one-time state tax money to finance a partial Medicaid expansion, while calling it something else.
Again, our lawmakers are sending back our federal taxes to Washington, and S.C. taxpayers will end up paying twice. Four billion dollars is a mighty big refund check to turn down.
Not many legislators are accountants, but Nikki Haley is. I wonder how long her accounting practice would last if she adopted the same “send it back” attitude with her clients.
Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s time for lawmakers to drop the “Forget, Hell!” attitude, and do what’s fiscally sensible. Whether or not they support Obamacare, if federal money is offered to pay for it, take it. I want my hard-earned federal tax money back, and you should too.