Haley Hammers House, Senate on Tax Reform
Gov. Haley says Republican legislature should start acting like one
Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that she's about to get a lot louder.
Haley addressed the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers and issued a blunt condemnation of the S.C. House of Representatives for its failure to include tax reform in the proposed budget.
"I’m not going to stand by and continue to say I am the proud governor of a Republican state when I’ve got a Republican legislature that just doesn’t know how to act like one," Haley said.
Haley said her administration asked the General Assembly to begin a tax reform plan that would simplify the tax code and reduce the manufacturing tax from 10.5 percent to six percent.
But, Haley said, the House Ways and Means committee left the $140 million tax plan out of its $6 billion budget last month. The House will debate the budget on the floor next week.
"Enough is enough," Haley said. "At what point can I go face any state in the country and say we have a Republican House and we have a Republican Senate but we can't get tax reform in this state.
"Something is very wrong. It doesn’t matter if you have the "R" or the "D" behind your name. What matters is you have to care about the taxpayers, you have to understand we will never create jobs in this state as long as we tax people to death."
When asked if she thought taking her fight to the public square would help anything, Haley said she was simply trying to inform voters.
"It’s not yelling at them," Haley said of the legislature, "it’s educating the public. There is not a person in this state that if they knew that there was a $6 billion budget and we paid for $140 million in tax relief ... and [the General Assembly] turned it down, that would not want to ask their legislator that question."
UPDATE (5:41 p.m.): Harrell Responds to Haley
House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued a statement late Wednesday in response to Haley's criticism.
"Today the Governor accused our Caucus of not acting like Republicans," Harrell said. "The truth is, we have cut taxes over $20 billion since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and this year's budget has over $500 million in tax relief.
"But we are also acting like South Carolinians by protecting our state’s ports by funding $180 million to deepen the Charleston Harbor and fighting Governor Haley, her DHEC Board and the state of Georgia over the Savannah River dredging."