Skip to comments.Sanford 2008
Posted on 01/11/2005 1:33:44 PM PST by pratherdc
Sanford: Lower tax rate is top goal
By AARON GOULD SHEININ Staff Writer
Q&A WITH THE GOVERNOR
Lowering the S.C. income tax rate is his chief priority for the legislative session that opens today, Gov. Mark Sanford told The State.
This will be Sanfords third legislative session as chief executive, and he says changing the culture of government is, in many ways, more important to him than advancing legislative ideas.
In the interview, Sanford, a Republican, also refuses to rule out a potential run for the White House in 2008, but he dismisses the idea as not being on my radar screen.
Here are excerpts:
QUESTION: Youve outlined five top priorities for the legislative session, including income tax reduction, school choice and changes to Senate rules. Which is your top priority?
ANSWER: The income tax.
QUESTION: Does this one speak more to your basic idea of government?
ANSWER: The education thing does that. In various ways, they all do that. With the income tax, its very specifically aimed at, How do you become more competitive?
Very specifically, its tied to the fact that were really a state of small businesses. If we want to have impact in our job climate, weve got to do something for small business, the real backbone of job creation.
Weve seen that its helped in the job creation front and the business creation front in the states that have given it a try.
QUESTION: How do you answer critics who argue the states income tax rate might be higher than other states, but if you consider the number of deductions and credits South Carolina offers, our income tax is no more burdensome?
ANSWER: The biggest impact you can have in the aggregate is lowering rates, is simply lowering marginal rates. (With the current system), youre still saying the politician should ultimately pick the winner and loser, which is not something I philosophically believe.
QUESTION: Do you worry that the income tax proposal is getting overshadowed by focus on Put Parents in Charge?
ANSWER: That idea (income tax reduction) has been introduced and well debated, and it passed the House, and it would have passed the Senate had we been able to get it up for a vote. It doesnt worry me a great deal.
QUESTION: Theres been a lot of barroom talk, writings in national publications, that you might be considered a candidate for president in 2008. Will you say yes or no, if youre re-elected governor, whether youll seek higher office?
ANSWER: Ive totally missed out on this conversation. You dont hear me talking about it. All this barroom talk, meanwhile, Im playing with the kids. As Ive said before, this stuff is flattering, but it (running for president) is the last thing in the world on my mind. Its not even on my radar screen.
QUESTION: Youve struggled to get your legislative priorities through a General Assembly that is controlled by fellow Republicans. Youve clashed openly with legislative leaders. If your goal is to get policy initiatives passed, it seems youre going about it in a strange way. But youre also smart enough to know the Legislature is not going to change its ways just because you ask it to. So what is your ultimate goal?
ANSWER: The big, big picture to me is limited government. At the end of the day, I think the people know how to spend their money better than somebody else.
Were swinging the bat big time on each of these. Put Parents in Charge would be the first statewide (school) choice program in the nation. The income tax proposal would be a shift of money staying in the private sector. To pull those off, you have to have people thinking in that direction.
The biggest thing is trying to impact the debate that ultimately leads to change, and I think were getting there. Its not about swinging the bat. Its swinging the bat because of the difference it would make in South Carolina and our ability to compete in the rest of the world.
The actual outcomes, you know these different nuggets of legislation, are ultimately in the hands of a legislative body. They pass it or dont pass it. All you can do is spell them out.
And thats where some people get very confused. It aint Marks legislative agenda. At the end of the day, people in the General Assembly, Mark, (we) are going to be just fine. People in these far-off corners of South Carolina who are struggling to make it, they are not going to be just fine. Its going to be more difficult to compete.
People who say, I dont want to pass it because its Marks agenda or someone elses agenda miss the whole point of why we are here. Were here supposedly to try and make peoples lives just a little bit better through the process of politics here in South Carolina. And politics can make peoples lives a whole lot better or a lot worse.
QUESTION: You seem to have made progress in changing the culture of government, as you call it, by making people ask different questions and look at things differently. But once youre out of office, that culture could slip right back to where it was before you arrived. Passing legislative initiatives, changing state law, would be around much longer, it would seem.
ANSWER: Whether legislative change lasts longer, Id respectfully disagree with you. Bobtailing, as a practice, is basically prohibited in the (state) constitution, yet its become a tradition and has been around for a long time. If we had said nothing, that, I have to be quiet on that, one can very conceivably argue that the practice will not have been curtailed.
In terms of having an impact over time, youre talking about a very significant change to the taxpayer over time because of the relative inefficient way of doing business that bobtailing incorporates. If you change that tradition, people say we dont do that, thats not our practice.
(Some examples of culture change, Sanford says, are less obvious but just as significant, such as his ending the practice of accepting a BMW for his familys use.)
You get here, and theres a BMW parked out front, and I said, No, I think the Highway Department or Commerce could use that better than we could. I dont see how the next governor can say, I want the BMW back. You guys (in the media) would have great fun.
(Sanford says his decision last year to create an executive budget proposal that is more detailed and specific than those of his predecessors will have long-lasting impact as a change in culture.)
The executive branch has been historically separated from the budgeting process. The front-row seat in any legislative process is what are you spending and where are you spending it this year.
To say, no, not just a boilerplate, 30-page, heres my wish list, but an operational budget that gets down into the nuts and bolts ... thats a real world change, that not only has a direct impact this year, but a much bigger impact on future administrations that impacts the way we set budgets in South Carolina.
In 200 years, the executive branch really wasnt an evolving process. Now it is.
Reach Gould Sheinin at (803) 771-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got to admit that I don't know much about this guy, or Gov Owens. I'll have to do some research on both of them.
Despite the poor performance of Republicans-in his state-in the most recent general elections, I still think that, on balance, he's the best man for the job.
I'm on board.
Some great articles on Sanford:
You will love this guy!!!
I like Mark Sanford.He is a great Governor, a great fiscal conservative and reformer. He is not a social conservative and his position on illegal immigration is unacceptable.His constant support for McCain is also troubling.We must have a true fiscal and social conservative running in 08.We must not divide our Reagan wing in half(fiscal vs social)Sanford is certainly unacceptable to the Social wing.We must have a true Reagan conservative in 08.
See previous posts!
BTW - ton of spyware on the download on that web page.
Owens is good but Sanford's better.
Not a social conservative???
He's gotten 'A' ratings from National Right to Life? What are you smoking???
And-his immigration stance is mediocre, but not bad. His congressional record shows him as against amnesty programs.
Dunno why he likes McCain though.
BTW, he IS a Reagan Conservative.
Sanford holds true to Republican principles on other issues, as well. While President Bush was echoing John Kerry and Al Gore's position on background checks at gun shows, Sanford was fighting them vigorously in Congress. While President Bush was parroting Kerry's desire to see the assault weapons ban renewed, Sanford was helping lead the fight against unconstitutional gun bans. While Bush promised to sign most gun bills that land on his desk, Sanford was signing a repeal of his state's one-gun-a-month law, making South Carolina a much friendlier place to gun owners and collectors. His time in Congress earned him an "A" rating from both the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America. He was endorsed by the "We Vote Pro-Life" Political Action Committee and won praises from the American Conservative Union as the "Most Conservative Governor in America."
That's from the Draft Sanford in 2008 page at
I would have been disappointed if I read the replies to this post, and didn't see a picture of Redd Foxx in there somewhere! Thanks!
He's certainly pro-life. What social positions of his are unacceptable to you?
If Sanford runs, I'm supporting him.. To be hinest I prefer a Govenor over a Senator..
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