South Carolina's Tax Commission Saga

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You know a state has some problems when it claims it cannot even afford to conduct a study to determine whether its revenue system is adequate and effective. That's what happenedearlier this week in South Carolina, where it appeared that legislation to create a special panel to study the state's tax structure might get derailed. Lawmakers found it difficult to resolve the panel's membership and whether the costs associated with the panel (staffing, travel, etc.) could actually be paid for.

On Tuesday the legislature decided that the state could, in fact, afford to conduct a study to determine how it should raise revenue. Unfortunately, the effort is set to fail before it even begins. Ultimately both the House and Senate approved the creation of the 11-member board, but House Democrats won't be allowed to appoint a panel member. The panel is supposed to study the so-called "Fair Tax," a proposal that would eliminate state personal and corporate income taxes and replace that lost revenue with huge sales taxes shouldered primarily by low- and middle-income people. Incredibly, recent controversial changes to the state's property tax won't be discussed before the panel.

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