COLUMBIA --- South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley said Wednesday the state must eliminate corporate income taxes and pass comprehensive tax reform to lower its seventh-in-the-nation unemployment rate.
During a visit to a marketing and printing firm here, the GOP candidate pledged to work with legislators to "look at all taxes, all fees, all exemptions" and "make sure the very first year we have tax reform rolled out."
"The goal is to make it a very business-friendly tax structure," said Haley, who worked as a bookkeeper for her family's clothing store. "The first thing we want to do is eliminate the corporate income tax."
For years, legislators have talked about the need for wholesale tax reform without ever accomplishing it. A commission formed by the Legislature has come out with a proposal to tax more things while lowering the tax rate. A public hearing on their plan is set for Friday. Haley said she would look at the work they had done.
Haley insisted that the way to help businesses hire employees and bring down the jobless rate is to cut red tape and business taxes. In June, the state's unemployment rate was 10.7 percent.
Economic reports in recent months have shown that businesses are uncertain about the strength of the nation's recovery, so firms have been sitting on record piles of cash, loath to use the money to hire new workers and expand operations.
During a morning visit to the Columbia firm Spectra Integration, Haley released a package of proposals she said would lead to job creation.
Earlier this year, the state House passed a bill to eliminate corporate income taxes over 10 years. But the Senate removed that provision, saying the economy was too uncertain to further reduce state tax collections.