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Columns

  • Column: Avoid trouble: Update your address with tax officials

    At the end of September each year, Lancaster County mails property tax bills for real estate (homes and commercial buildings) and personal property (boats, business furniture and equipment, manufacturing, etc.).
    While nobody likes getting a tax bill, it’s important that they are sent to the correct address. Having the correct address on file is the taxpayer’s responsibility, and that prevents you from having a late fee due to never receiving the bill.

  • Column: Dismal S.C. ratings on income, education

    S.C. businesses are much more likely to be white-owned than businesses on average in the United States, and less likely to be owned by women.
    At the same time, businesses owned by men and by whites are more valuable than minority and female-owned businesses, and the difference in value in South Carolina is even greater than the average national difference.

  • Column: I fought these 3 lousy ideas in legislature

    Now that the legislative session is over, I wanted to do something a little different and tell you about some legislation before the General Assembly that I did not support this year.
    A friend and fellow lawmaker shared the advice that the job of a legislator is 60 percent constituency work, 30 percent stopping bad legislation from happening and 10 percent passing good legislation. During my first year in the House, I have tried to model my time and effort around those three things.
    Here are three bills that I did not support and why.

  • Column: My plan to restore American Dream

    Phil Noble’s July 30 column asked: Is the American Dream alive or dead?
    Mr. Noble is an expert at identifying problems. His usual solution is more state money.
    His piece offered no solution to the lost American Dream. Democrats have no solutions to problems today that actually work.
    He said there are two South Carolinas, with great divisions of poverty, racism, isolation, hostility, violence and bloodshed between them. This is true for many states and cities in America, not just South Carolina.

  • Column: Ratcheting up legal sanctions on gun violence

    I know my community expects harsher sentences in gun cases. Sometimes we expect more than the law allows.

    Clint Eastwood said, “A man has got to know his limitations.” I know the limitations of the current gun laws in South Carolina, and unfortunately they are not in our favor.

  • Column: A big nuke-plant mess to unbuild

    The announcement last week that SCE&G and state-owned utility Santee Cooper were pulling the plug on construction of two nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville has left questions that keep multiplying.

    In the run-up to the decision, one factor driving it was that the partly-completed, multibillion-dollar project would provide more power than electricity consumers in South Carolina were likely to want.

    Canceling the project, though, could lead to a shortfall.

  • Column: Will mammals soon choose to be reptiles?

    Suppose you do not believe in God, or in any god at all.
    Maybe you believe the universe and everything in it, including yourself, resulted from pure chance or maybe a serious accident of nature. Maybe you believe that everything is utterly devoid of meaning. It is all your choice.

  • Column: GOP says Probate backlog alarming

    Three years ago, Lancaster County Republicans, seeking to improve the level of service in county government, fielded a candidate for probate judge.
    Jerry Holt lost in a close race to a two-decade Democratic incumbent. Holt challenged the status quo in the probate court, calling for reforms in the office to improve service, make the office more customer-friendly and prepare for the county’s continued growth.
    According to recent court statistics, these reforms are needed now more than ever.

  • Column: Why tax credits are a bad idea

    Tax credits can be some of the worst policies a government can pass.
    Taxes, as a rule, should be broad-based (everybody pays them) and low-rate (nobody pays much). Tax credits usually violate that principle – after all, tax cuts are different from tax favors. The former lower the overall burden for everyone, and the latter make exemptions for favored businesses, individuals, or sectors at the expense of everyone else.
    And of course, targeted tax credits are often used for economic development – or so the claim goes.

  • Column: My pessimism about Congress keeps growing

    I have been watching the actions in Washington for the past several weeks with great interest and have come to some conclusions.
    First, regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump, he has been the catalyst to prove what we have suspected about our government – that we the people have very little control of the “government by the people.” We are the “sheeple” that are needed to justify career politicians’ existence.