More Lemons

Every so often our South Carolina state legislature fixates on a minor opportunity and turns it into an epic disaster with  ill conceived “fixes.” We are all too familar with the pain inflicted by the pension ‘de’form of 1999 and the destructive Base Load Review Act of 2007 as examples of the state’s penchant for turning lemonade into lemons.

The probable total price of the two aforementioned misguided legislative adventures is an estimated $35 billion – BLRA, $15 billion (past and future expenditures plus rate increases) and State Pension Fund, $20 billion (underfunded amount so far).

The benefits of those costly mistakes amount to one very large potential science fiction movie set and one still very broken pension system. We have had enough lemons for quite a while.

Fresh off passing the massive gas tax (without any real effiency improvements), we are told by the legislature it may try to outdo those previous titanic failures by raising taxes on basic necessities. That’s right, the state legislative leaders have pronounced that the sales tax exemptions on our life savings may be in their crosshairs .

One has to wonder which special interest groups are pushing this complete overhaul of a system which just needs a bit of tweaking. Certainly, the movement is not generated by any concern for the general public since our state is already rated third best in overall total tax state and local fairness as it applies to being less regressive.

None of us are sure exactly where this movement is headed. We do know, however, that our state legislators have a history of mucking up our lives with some unbelievably bad legislation. Given our legislators’ history, please ensure all eyes are focused on this overhaul attempt known to some as the “Unfair Tax Burden Act.”