Editorials from elsewhere
State lawmakers are finally waking up to the knowledge that the notorious property tax reform law known as Act 388 was ill-conceived and damaging. Unfortunately, it has taken more than eight years, and a worst-case scenario, to bring lawmakers to this much-needed realization.
It should not take that long for legislators to assess the damage and find a way to fix the problem they created. Just as importantly, they should heed the lessons of Act 388 and avoid making the same mistake twice. They should reject Gov. Nikki Haley’s version of the tax swap that would exchange an increase in the gasoline tax for a significant reduction in the state’s income tax.
Greenville News Columbia Bureau reporter Tim Smith reported that the 1-cent sales tax hike in Act 388 never raised the amount of money it needed to in order to offset the reduction in property taxes on owner-occupied homes. Since it was enacted, Act 388 has left an $866 million school-funding shortfall that has been patched largely with money from the General Fund — money that could have gone to fund road improvements, health care or other education needs, particularly in cash-strapped rural school districts.
South Carolina’s road shortcomings are well recognized but the prospects for a funding solution don’t appear to be generating the necessary enthusiasm in the Legislature.
The issue is getting bogged down with side issues that are likely to delay a funding solution for yet another year. Gov. Nikki Haley, for example, wants a gas tax increase tied to a major cut in the state income tax rate. And she has threatened to veto anything less. It’s almost a guarantee for stalemate.
The Legislature should look to a simple solution — such as that recommended by Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Georgetown. …
Sen. Cleary’s plan seeks new revenue from two main sources: an increase in the state gas tax, and an increase in the sales tax for motor vehicles. His bill recognizes that both sources of revenue are long overdue for adjustment.
Post & Courier
Guns & batterers
South Carolina is a gun-loving state, and lawmakers have historically shot down attempts to limit gun rights. In fact, they’ve expanded them. Last year, a bill passed allowing those with concealed weapon permits to take their weapons into restaurants and bars.
We urge House members not to buckle on this one. There should be universal agreement that anyone found guilty of first or second degree criminal domestic violence is unfit to own a deadly weapon. Banning guns for these potentially dangerous people who have a history of abusing others is common sense, not an affront to the Second Amendment. …
Lawmakers owe it to their constituents to guarantee caught abusers don’t get a second chance to injure — this time with a gun.
Food for Thought
• “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”
• “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”