Mark Sanford

October 25, 2009

Sanford as governor: 5 hits, 5 misses

Tax cuts/reform - Under Sanford, the state's income tax has been cut and the grocery tax has been eliminated. The state also cut property tax for homeowners by raising the sales tax by 20 percent and cut small business taxes.

The hits

Tax cuts/reform - Under Sanford, the state's income tax has been cut and the grocery tax has been eliminated. The state also cut property tax for homeowners by raising the sales tax by 20 percent and cut small business taxes.

Restructuring - Reduced wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles and reform of the Transportation Department to prioritize projects on objective criteria were clear Sanford victories.

DUI reform - Drunken drivers now are punished according to their blood-alcohol level, meaning those who are grossly intoxicated and cause the deadliest accidents face stiffer punishment. Critics say the reform still is flawed.

Conservation - Sanford claims to have protected more than 150,000 acres through the Conservation Land Bank and other agencies.

Workers compensation - Businesses complained of high premiums, as S.C. workers drew benefits based on disability formulas that companies argued were too generous. At Sanford's urging, the state changed the formulas, making it tougher to win disability claims.

The misses

Stimulus - Sanford refused to take a portion of federal stimulus money due to the state and, subsequently, lost a court battle over the money.

School choice - Sanford has advocated offering tax breaks to parents who choose to send their children to private schools. Despite Sanford's support, legislation has gone nowhere in the General Assembly.

Restructuring - Sanford has fought unsuccessfully to put more of state government under the governor's control. Legislators have been unmoved.

Employment Security - Sanford targeted the S.C. Employment Security Commission, which manages the state unemployment trust fund, for a takeover by the governor. But lawmakers, smarting from the stimulus fight, rebuffed his efforts to make the commission a Cabinet agency.

Higher-education reform - Sanford entered office wanting to create a new, centralized governing system for higher education similar to North Carolina's. Thus far, however, he has failed in that effort. He also unsuccessfully pushed for the state to close lightly attended branch campuses and streamline academic programs.

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