Lawmakers up front on taxes

COLUMBIA --- Rep. Bill Herbkersman said he doesn't think he's one of the 12 House members who have missed at least one year in taxes from 1999-2007, but that he has filed an extension for his 2007 taxes and is awaiting more information from one of the banks his company does business with.


This week Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, filed legislation barring those who have not filed required income taxes from holding state elected office.

The three bills were a response to a report he received from the state Department of Revenue that said one dozen lawmakers in the lower chamber showed no filing for at least one year.

"I don't think it's me," said the Bluffton Republican. "I would have been notified, and the extension was filed."

Mr. Herbkersman, who owns eco-development firm Calhoun Street Development Co., said he has a certified public accountant in Chicago who handles the correspondence.

"That's typical for what I do," Mr. Herbkersman said. "We deal with banks here and out of the country. From my standpoint, I would never sign a return that wasn't accurate or was missing information."

Reps. Richard Chalk, R-Hilton Head Island, and Kenneth Hodges, D-Green Pond, said they filed all their returns.

"To my knowledge, my taxes are up to date," said Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort. "Ryberg's a friend of mine. He would have told me."

But the senator from Aiken did not request the names in his letter to the Department of Revenue.

And the agency's spokeswoman, Adrienne Fairwell, said the identity of each person was protected from disclosure, and not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Reach Sarita Chourey at (803) 727-4257 or