Fiscal Responsibility and a Balanced Budget
In the state budget, just as in our own family budgets, we must live within our means. We cannot afford to burden future generations with our debt. I believe we must have the right priorities and commit to balancing the budget by cutting spending, reducing debt, and creating economic growth. If we look at new legislation as a state, I believe we must identify how it will be funded. I also think we need to take a hard look at inefficiencies in state government and go after waste, bureaucracy, and duplication of services. At the same time, we need to fuel economic growth by helping our existing companies grow, attracting new companies through pro-business policies, and supporting small business growth and entrepreneurship. Fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget are essential to creating a better, stronger, more prosperous state for the next generation.
Strengthening South Carolina’s Economy
The most important issue facing South Carolina is the economy and how we grow jobs. We must work to raise income levels so that we can return to the national average. We accomplish that by creating a pro-business, pro-growth climate so that we can attract new high-growth, high-wage industries. We must also focus on giving existing companies the tools they need to grow and create jobs. In addition, we must promote entrepreneurship, support small businesses, and create programs to ensure our workers are well-prepared for the jobs created here.
We must make sure our children don’t fall behind, particularly in today’s global economy. For South Carolina to compete, we must raise our education goals and help every school succeed by measuring progress, increasing parent involvement, promoting accountability and sharing innovation at all levels. Also, we need to increase our focus on math and science to prepare our students for jobs of the future. We must improve our drop-out rate to keep more of students in school and raise SAT scores. In addition, we should increase support for public colleges and universities with an emphasis on scholarships to help us address the “brain drain” in South Carolina.
Building South Carolina without Raising Taxes
Raising taxes creates a hardship for working families and scares away jobs. Meanwhile, keeping taxes low enhances our competitive position and helps grow the economy. We must actively look for ways to lower the tax burden on the people of South Carolina as the SC General Assembly has in recent years by lowering tax brackets, eliminating the sales tax on groceries, and providing tax relief on owner-occupied dwellings. While we pursue sensible tax reforms, we also have to look for ways to reduce government spending.
Drawing the line on spending is hard work, but I believe it is necessary to move South Carolina forward. Government leaders must be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and ensure those dollars are used wisely on the real priorities of our state. Also, we need to do more than talk about fiscal discipline—we need to exercise it. That means we should hold state agencies accountable for their work and go after waste, inefficiency and duplication rather than raising taxes. When our government is effective and efficient, it will be able to better focus its resources on the important issues facing South Carolina.