Issue Position: Fiscal Responsibility
We're committed as an Administration to the ideals of limited government and personal freedom. One of the best ways to promote these ideas, we think, is by advocating for lower taxes and lower government spending.
To this end, in order to urge legislators to adopt a more responsible budget, we became the first administration in South Carolina history to propose a fully operational budget to the Legislature every year. (Until then, the executive submitted only a few guidelines and statements of preference.) Our adopted budget proposals have saved tens of millions of dollars. The 2007 budget started in the black for the first time in 16 years.
In 2003, South Carolina was in an almost $1 billion financial hole in addition to a $155 million unconstitutional deficit. After years of engaging in a tug-of-war with the Legislature over the issue of spending, we're starting to see signs of progress - the 2007 budget process started in the black for the first time in 16 years.
In 2005 we were also able to pass the first-ever cut in marginal tax rates for businesses, and in 2007 we pushed the Legislature to return more money to hard-working taxpayers, resulting in the largest recurring tax cut in state history just this year - totaling $221 million.
We still have a lot of work to do. We're convinced that state government has been allowed to grow too much, too fast. In fact, the rate of government growth is now far outpacing the growth of most South Carolinians' incomes. Maybe the best way to put it is this: While people's wallets may be growing by a little, their government is growing by a lot - and sooner or later, their wallets are going to have to pay for their government.
What we're trying to do is prevent the economic crisis that that dynamic may create.