Politics & Government

Sanford pitches lower taxes

Dressed in his usual blue blazer and holding one of his trademark charts, outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford held his final press conference Thursday, outlining a plan to reform South Carolina’s tax structure, featuring lower tax rates that he says are needed to increase the state's competitiveness.

Sanford, who leaves office Wednesday when Gov.-elect Nikki Haley takes the helm, made one final appeal to lawmakers to:

-- Eliminate all tax exemptions and uniformly tax goods and services in the range of 2 percent to 3 percent

-- Uniformly assess all real property at 4 percent of its value. Business property is now taxed at 10 percent. The tax rate for homeowner-occupied residences now is 4 percent.

-- Create a flat personal income tax and corporate income tax in the range of 2 to 3 percent. The corporate tax rate now is 5 percent. The personal income tax is up to 7 percent.

Sanford said he has not spoken with fellow Republican Haley about the plan but had shared it with some lawmakers. Haley has said she plans to restructure the state's tax code, eliminating the corporate income tax.

-- Gina Smith