Senator Tom Davis re: gas tax bill

Interesting post from Senator Tom Davis on his Facebook page re: gas tax bill:

Props to @schousespeaker and @garysimrill for amending H 3516 (roads bill) so that it includes some components of SCDOT restructuring; initially, the bill was a straight-up gas-tax increase and could not have served as a vehicle for critical reforms, such as establishing a direct line of accountability to the governor for expenditures; eliminating the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank; and making available for public inspection all SCDOT expenditures, matching federal projects, debt, contracts, and project prioritizations, etc.

Now, with H 3516 having been amended to contain restructuring components, and with the title having been amended to conform, the Senate will have the ability to strike the gas-tax increase in its entirety and introduce substantive amendments that TRULY reform SCDOT. As I’ve repeatedly, the problem isn’t the amount of money we give to SCDOT (which has increased from $1 billion in 2009 to $2.2 billion in the current year), it’s how the SCDOT spends — or rather, misspends — that money. I look forward to the coming debate in the Senate.

I don’t know anything more than this right now, but will keep my eye out.

By |February 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

CPAC Schedule

CPAC begins this week, the general sessions (which begin Thursday morning) at least will be carried live by CSPAN.

CLICK HERE for the speaker schedule.

 

By |February 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Spring Fling. Yes? or No?

Each year the Spartanburg Tea Party aims to participate in Spring Fling.  It is a great opportunity to meet like minded people, find new folks interested in learning how to engage locally in politics, and help us build a strong county party, volunteer on campaigns, and communicate with our legislators on policy and legislation.

Of course it always comes down to … who will volunteer to staff our table?  The cost to participate in Spring Fling for 2 days, April 29 and 30 is $70, which I will pay if we have volunteers.

We need folks to staff our table/tent from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday 4/29. The 10 AM crew will have to be responsible for getting there earlier, setting up our tent and table.  You must be set up and out of the area with your car by 9 AM if I remember correctly.  We don’t have that much stuff, and it can mostly be wheeled/carried in if you want to park at the library or a parking garage.

Then we need folks to staff our table/tent from 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday 4/30.  The crew that closes out must break down and carry out our gear.

In the years where the Spring Fling and the State GOP convention overlap we usually do not have a table, but this year those two events are NOT on the same weekend, so we do have an opportunity this year.  I have to pay the nondeductible $20 application fee by March 10, so if you want to help with this event, tell me now, tell me when you can work, and hopefully a few of you strong energetic folks will handle the put up and tear down shifts.

call me at 864.384.7558 or email me at karenmartin_1@charter.net.  If we get enough volunteers, I’ll write the checks.

By |February 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

S.C. Is a ‘Low Tax State,’ Right? Wrong.

From SC Policy Council:

South Carolina politicos sometimes claim that ours is a “low tax state” and that it has the “lowest taxes in that nation.” The claim is false. It confuses tax collections with tax rates – that is, total amounts sent to Columbia versus the proportion of South Carolinians’ income paid in taxes.

The truth is that South Carolina is a low income state but a high tax state. Consider:

► At 7.22 percent combined state and local sales tax, South Carolina has the 18th highest sales tax rate in the nation. That’s higher than the rates of neighboring North Carolina (6.9 percent, 24th in the nation) and Georgia (7 percent, 23rd in the nation).

► Five states in the U.S. don’t collect sales taxes at all. And all five of those states’ individual income tax rates is lower than South Carolina’s.

► The state allows localities to levy an additional 1 percent tax (the so-called Local Option Sales Tax) in addition to the state’s cut. The additional tax has to be approved by voters. In addition to this local sales tax, some localities also levy a hospitality tax. In some localities in South Carolina citizens pay as much as 10 percent in sales tax.

► South Carolina exempts more in sales tax than it collects. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, South Carolina exempted $3.05 billion in sales tax revenue, and collected only $2.42 billion. That’s a difference of $628.5 million. (The data for subsequent years will be slightly, but only slightly, different.)

► The reason for all those exemptions isn’t hard to find. A culture of cronyism and back-scratching means that lawmakers prefer to keep our sales tax high and divvy out exemptions to favored companies – with the result that average people pay high rates yet the state takes in relatively little in sales tax.

► Accordingly, South Carolina’s tax code is riddled with sales tax exemptions. There are special exemptions on hearing aids, coal, motor fuel, railcars, farm machinery, durable medical equipment, livestock, solid waste disposal bags, amusement park rides, prosthetic devices, hydrogen-powered vehicles, newspapers, insecticides, sweetgrass baskets, anything purchased by a major motion picture company, and many, many other items. These exemptions – carved into the tax code by special interests – ensure that the rate on non-exempted items stays high.

All this means that, political rhetoric to the contrary, South Carolina is anything but a low tax state. What’s important isn’t merely tax rates. The crucial factor is our relatively high rates combined with our low income.

By |February 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Carol Martin writes a Letter to the Editor

IN Sunday’s SHJ:

Temporary travel ban

Jason Lee (Feb. 5 guest columnist) voiced his concern about the effect of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, including its effect on the refugee resettlement program. He says we can’t be driven by fear.

Aren’t refugees initially supported, at least in part, with our tax dollars? How many hardworking taxpayers would choose to pick up the tab for them? Our national debt is $20 trillion, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps.

Many years ago, there was a labor shortage and no welfare. When our ancestors came here, many came to work in coal mines and steel mills, and to build railroads. Some fought in wars. If they didn’t work, they probably didn’t eat very often.

Should we help suffering people? Absolutely, but why not help them in safe zones near their homes, which is much more economical and does not threaten our safety and change our culture?

Yes, Mr. Lee, I do fear that in 10 years our children will not recognize this country. I fear that there is a plot to destroy Christianity through mass migration. I fear those who would replace our national sovereignty with a global government.

I fear that the FBI is telling the truth when it said that immigrants from some countries cannot be property vetted. I fear that ISIS members who disguise themselves as refugees are placed among us. I fear a culture that is not compatible with Christianity and our Constitution.

Carol Martin

Spartanburg

By |February 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

13 regulations that the House has repealed so far

From Jeff Duncan’s Facebook page:

Those who know me, know how much I care about fixing our broken system of checks & balances. One of the greatest abuses of executive power comes in the form of having un-elected bureaucrats creating new government regulations that circumvent the democratic process, cost us American jobs, and restrict our liberty. One of the powers Congress has to rein in abusive regulations is through something called the Congressional Review Act. This law allows Congress to repeal some regulations, and once repealed, bureaucrats are prevented from ever reissuing similar rules without Congressional approval.

Here is a list of the 13 regulations that the House has repealed so far:

1) The Stream Buffer Rule (H.J. Res. 38) would have saddled mines with unnecessary regulations, putting up to 64% of America’s coal reserves off limits and threatening between 40,000 to 70,000 mining jobs. – Signed by President Trump

2) The SEC Disclosure Rule for Resource Extraction (H.J. Res. 41) would have put an unreasonable compliance burden on publicly traded American energy companies, putting them at a disadvantage to foreign-owned businesses. – Signed by President Trump

3) The Social Security Service’s Second Amendment Restrictions (H.J. Res. 40) would increase scrutiny on up to 4.2 million law-abiding disabled Americans attempting to purchase firearms, potentially depriving people of their constitutional rights without proper due process protections. – Passed by the Senate

4) The Federal Contracts Blacklisting Rule (H.J. Res. 37) would unjustly block many businesses accused of violating labor laws from federal contracts before they’ve even had a chance to defend themselves in court.

5) The Bureau of Land Management Venting and Flaring Rule (H.J. Res. 36) would further cap methane emissions in the oil and gas industry at a time when the industry is already dramatically reducing emissions, potentially wiping out family-owned marginal wells and costing an estimated $1 billion.

6) The Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 Rule (H.J. Res. 44) would reduce local authority over large swaths of land out west, massively expanding the federal government’s control over more than 175 million acres of land—about 4,000 times the size of Washington, D.C.—in 11 western states.

7) The Teacher Preparation Rule (H.J. Res. 58) would force states to use Washington’s standards to determine whether a teacher preparation program is effective, undermining local control over education and potentially exacerbating the shortage of special education teachers.

8) The Education Accountability Rule (H.J. Res. 57) would be an unfunded mandate imposing Washington’s standard for how to assess schools on state and local governments.

9) The Unemployment Insurance Drug Testing Rule (H.J. Res. 42) would severely restrict states’ ability to limit drug abusers from receiving unemployment benefits even if the drug users are not able and available for work, as the law requires.

10) The State Retirement Plan Rule (H.J. Res. 66) would treat employees unequally by allowing states to force some workers into second-tier government-run retirement accounts that lack the same protections as private-sector accounts.

11) The Local Retirement Plan Rule (H.J. Res. 67) would treat employees unequally by allowing certain localities to force some workers into second-tier government-run retirement accounts that lack the same protections as private-sector accounts.

12) The National Wildlife Hunting and Fishing Rule (H.J. Res. 69) would infringe on Alaska’s right to sustainably manage fish and wildlife by over-regulating hunting—a move that could set the stage for the federal government to undermine local control across the entire U.S.

13) The Title X Abortion Funding Rule (H.J. Res. 43) would force states to administer Title X health funding to abortion providers, even if states want to redirect those funds to community health centers and hospitals that offer more comprehensive coverage

By |February 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Obama Administration regulations being undone!

From Jeff Duncan’s Facebook page:

The House of Representatives voted today to undo two Obama Administration regulations that were in violation of the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment limits on states’ rights. The first regulation barred hunting and fishing from federal wilderness lands in Alaska, while the second stopped states from cutting Title X grant funding to abortion providers, most notably the disgraced Planned Parenthood organization.

We are still dealing with the full impacts of the executive overreach by the Obama presidency. I am glad to be able to turn back these terrible regulations and again allow states to make their own decisions about how resources are managed, both natural and financial.

The first vote returned wildlife management back to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

As Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I was particularly proud to vote to overturn the ill-advised Obama Administration rule banning hunting and fishing in Alaska. Like all of our states, Alaska should be responsible for its own wildlife management practices, not unelected bureaucrats in a distant capital. This regulation represents a disturbing shift in the cooperative wildlife management relationship that states have enjoyed for years with the federal government.

I am proud to work with my friend Don Young of Alaska to restore Alaska’s rightful authority in this matter. Sportsmen around the country will be pleased by this action in the House today. The sustainable management of these natural resources needs to be a state-led function, and this rule would have set a bad precedent that could have negative implications for the lower 48 states as well.

The second vote will allow states to once again only direct Title X family planning funds to community health centers that do not engage in abortions or the trafficking of the body parts of unborn children.

Controversial organizations like Planned Parenthood have no business receiving federal taxpayer dollars. Many states agree – it is simply not the job of the federal government to impose regulations like this one to tell those states they’re wrong. Today’s action, when passed in the Senate and signed by President Trump, will eliminate that federal wrong and protect state taxpayers from having their money sent against their will to Planned Parenthood.

I look forward to the upcoming Budget Reconciliation bill in the House, which will, in addition to repealing Obamacare, make Planned Parenthood and similar abortion businesses ineligible for federal funding, transferring those funds instead to community health centers that actually focus on health. It is time for government at all levels to end funding for this heinous practice.

I call on the Senate to follow our lead and pass these resolutions so that President Trump can sign them into law as soon as possible.

By |February 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

IRS to accept tax returns without healthcare info

THIS is what I’ve been waiting for!  As someone who is self employed this was really a big deal to me when it came to filing my income tax each year.  I was just determined NOT to pay the penalty no matter what.  It was nerve racking, I pondered the potential future consequences, but … it was a hill to die on for me.

Thanks to President Trump it is no longer a concern, since the Executive Order he signed instructing agencies to “provide relief from the health law” …

According to Peter Suderman at Reason.com:

Following President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.

The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” As of last year, filers were required to indicate whether they had maintained coverage or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 was mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.

This year, however, filling out that line is optional.

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.

But the once mandatory disclosure is now voluntary. Silent returns will no longer be automatically rejected. The change is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.

This is the most impact that I can remember in a long time, in a positive way, that an elected official has had directly on my life.

#WIN

By |February 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Chad Connelly Congressional Campaign Kickoff Friday in Chesnee!

There is a portion of Spartanburg County that falls into District 5 …

Spartanburg – Come and be part of Chad Connelly’s kick off for Congress at the Bantam Chef, 418 S. Alabama Avenue in Chesnee! FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17 at 9:00 AM

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By |February 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Palmetto Panel Agenda

This is some great citizen training, coming to the Upstate Saturday February 25.  I’m GOING!

CLICK HERE to register.

As you decide whether to attend note: the organizers, Stacy Shea and Diane Hardy teamed up to run a campaign that helped to defeat Senate incumbent Larry Martin from Pickens.  For those of you who have paid attention to SC politics over the last decade that’s a Big Freakin’ Deal! So when these ladies put on some training … be there 🙂

 

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By |February 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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