Calling for a 2-percent drop in rates for those who currently pay state tax, Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton announced her new tax plan on Monday.
The proposal also calls for a 10-percent cut in non-educational, discretionary spending.
She discussed her plan during the Horry County GOP meeting at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway this week.
"It's time for us to have a tax cut too," she said, referring to the federal tax cuts passed by Congress earlier this year.
Templeton is one of the Republican primary challenges to Gov. Henry McMaster. That vote is set for June.
Before becoming a candidate, Templeton served as Secretary of Labor and head of the Department of Health and Environmental Control under former Gov. Nikki Haley.
Haley was appointed as ambassador to the United Nations by President Donald Trump and McMaster is serving the remainder of her term as governor.
Templeton’s tax plan, called “Cut Spending, Cut Taxes, Cut Bureaucracy,” details several ways to curb government spending.
Her proposal calls for a 2-percent drop in the state tax rate from 7 percent to 5 percent, for those currently paying state tax, by closing special interest exemptions. The plan also requires “making every South Carolinian, regardless of income, pay their fair share.”
Templeton said the tax rate could drop 2 percent, just by making sure everybody has "skin in the game."
Templeton’s efforts also call for a 10-percent cut to non-educational, discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is any area where the government has to set the amount of money received. She said there needs to funding for safety, health care, paying the debt and education and everything else is secondary.
"There is no reason we have to keep taking," Templeton said.
Other highlights of Templeton’s plan include:
- An expansion of the state’s homeowners’ property tax exemption for seniors. Those older than 65 years old could exempt the first $100,000 of assessed value of their primary residence. Currently the figure is capped at $50,000.
- South Carolina’s legislature would be required to pass a state budget covering two years, according to Templeton’s plan.
- The plan would institute a budget cap based on the increase in population plus inflation. The measure is an effort to help control government expenditures.
- There are provisions in the proposal to review government spending, including a task force to review the state’s 250 boards to identify waste and abuse.
- State government would evaluate every dollar spent each budget cycle and every expense must be justified to receive funding, according to Templeton.
- Government websites also would become more interactive to allow the public to pay taxes and fees online. Real-time spending would also be displayed on the governor’s website.