Fanning Tax Plan Targets Poor

One would think State Senate candidate Mike Fanning’s most glaring weakness would be his lack of experience in the legislature (zero vs. Coleman’s 18 years). Many, however, are more concerned that Mr. Fanning wants to tweak the state sales tax exemptions.

The target here would be the poor and vulnerable.

The bulk of South Carolina’s sales tax exemptions are geared to lowering the costs of basic essentials for all. These exemptions include groceries, prescription drugs, school supplies, electricity and water. The poor, the elderly, those on fixed incomes and the disabled pay the highest percent of their total income for these essentials. In fact, National Public Radio states that the lowest income families spend an average of over 30 percent of their income for food.

Mr. Fanning’s suggestion to remove the 6 percent exemption for these essentials would result in a devastating cost of living increase for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

While Mr. Fanning has called for a lowering of the state’s general sales tax, the net result would be a rise in the cost of living for the most vulnerable of our citizens. Perhaps Mr. Fanning, who takes in a six figure salary from the ‘charity’ he runs, does not realize the poor do not have much left over after paying for the basics. They would have even less if the essential sales tax exemptions were removed.

Yes there are some goofy exemptions, like Sweetgrass baskets, but their impact is minimal. The overriding big picture question is do we really need to make the inherently regressive state sales tax even more regressive by electing those who would remove a precious helping hand for those who need it most?

Wanda Carnes