SC groups join forces to rally for a moral budget

By Becci Robbins

SC Progressive Network

A growing number of churches, educators, health care providers, grassroots groups and professional organizations will rally in Columbia on Saturday, March 12, at 1pm at the State House to demand that lawmakers “Stop the cuts! Fund a moral budget.” The House begins debate on the budget March 15.

“Budgets are moral documents” said Rev. Brenda Kneece, Executive Minister of the SC Christian Action Council. “A civilized society chooses to do together what individuals or organizations cannot do alone: protect all and provide for the vulnerable.”

While the state’s political leadership says there is no alternative to further cuts to our bare-bones budget, they are ignoring the fact that more equitable cuts could be made through broad and fair reforms to our tax code.

According to the recent report by the Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC), created by the legislature to reform SC tax codes — a report that was quickly shelved — South Carolina imposes one of the country’s lowest individual income tax burdens. An estimated $3.7 billion was left out of the current budget due to sales and service tax exemptions alone.

Rally sponsors hold press conference Feb. 24 in the SC State House.

“Taxes are low in South Carolina, and getting lower,” said Dr. Holley Ulbrich, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics at Clemson University and a Senior Scholar at the Strom Thurmond Institute. “South Carolina ranks 47th out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia) in taxes as a percent of income, and 51st in taxes per capita. The 2010 budget per person was at the 1984 level in constant dollars.”

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