SC underperforming other conservative states, head of national group says

dbell@greenvillenews.com December 16, 2013 

— South Carolina is underperforming, compared to other conservative states, the leader of a national conservative advocacy group said Monday here.

He added the Republicans who are in charge can do a better job on issues such as budget and pension reform and providing more choice in education.

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, was in town to help re-launch that group’s state chapter, which he said plans to find, register and turn out 80,000 voters “who we know are with us on the issues.”

Phillips said his group’s 35th state chapter would have an office in Greenville and maybe one along the coast. Dave Schwartz, a former Maryland resident, will direct it. Among those helping is Betty Poe, former chairwoman of the Greenville County Republican Party.

Arlington, Va.-based Americans for Prosperity, funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, focuses on lower taxes, less regulation and shrinking the size of government.

Phillips told local Republicans and Tea Party activists at Tommy’s Country Ham House downtown that he sees South Carolina “underperforming, compared to other red states.”

In Wisconsin, he said, Republican control is more tenuous, and lawmakers there have cut taxes by $614 million, reformed pensions and launched school-choice programs. In South Carolina, Phillips said, “We’re just not there.”

Appearing with Phillips was U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Phillips, who grew up in Lyman and attended Byrnes High School in Duncan.

Phillips said his father, Frank Phillips, played textile league baseball, and his brother, Al Phillips, is associate pastor at First Baptist Church in North Spartanburg.

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