SC lawmakers push new tax structure

COLUMBIA -- Calling it a "jobs bill," Aiken Rep. Bill Taylor announced legislation aimed at implementing a new tax structure in South Carolina, one that replaces income tax, corporate income taxes, and other taxes with a single tax on new goods and services.

"For both the citizens of South Carolina and the businesses, April 15 will just be another day," Taylor said. "There won't be a state income tax."

The bill has drawn dozens of Republican sponsors but recently picked up cosponsorships from Democratic Reps. Lonnie Hosey of Barnwell and Bill Clyburn of Aiken. Under the proposal, a consumer would not pay taxes on used items.

The bill, H. 3993 is dubbed "The Fair Tax," and exists in the Senate as S. 274. Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, the chief sponsor on the Senate bill, told onlookers Wednesday that the proposals would spur growth.

"It's ludicrous to tax the very thing that you work hard for -- income," said Grooms. "We're going to create an opportunity for people to make money in South Carolina. We're going to grow our economy, and the only way we're gonna be able to do this successfully is to become the first state ... to pass the Fair Tax."

The issue is a perennial one at the federal level.

The name "Fair Tax," used by supporters, is misleading, said Sue Berkowitz, executive director of the Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which advocates for low-income residents.

"It's anything but fair," she said. "There is nothing more regressive than this."
Berkowitz said the change would drive up the percentage of income that lower-income families spend on goods and services, while giving additional financial advantages to people are well off.

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com or (803) 727-4257

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