Mark Sanford on Budget & Economy
Republican SC Governor; previously Representative (SC-1)
"We're at an incredible tipping point as a civilization and I think if we don't get spending right in Washington, D.C., there will be real consequences," Sanford said. "I've gotten into this race with the hope of taking what I've learned in Congress, what I learned in the governorship and what I've learned on the way up and on the way down and applying it to what I believe is the great debate of our civilization, which is indeed, how do we get our financial house in order."
Colbert Busch portrayed things differently. "Here's the fundamental difference. This is not the end of our time as we know it," she said. "The sky is not falling Henny Penny. In fact our best days are ahead of us."
Governor Sanford attacked the good old boy system head on. He consistently vetoed legislators' overspending and pork projects, and they hated him for it. He would send down budget vetoes and the GOP-led legislature would summarily override them. The year before I came to the house, in 2004, Governor Sanford issued 106 budget vetoes. The legislature took just 90 minutes to override 105 of them.
In the spring of 2009, Governor Sanford had waged a fierce (and ultimately unsuccessful) battle against the spending, even against its funding for South Carolina. His principled, fiscally conservative stand didn't sit too well with the national media or the South Carolina establishment, but it made him a hero to many South Carolinians and others across the country. Not only did he fight the stimulus, but he also fought the Washington bailouts, whether they were of the banks or the auto companies.
With our unemployment rate continuing to lag the national average, we will persist in our push for a lower income tax rate for all South Carolinians so we can reverse this trend. We have effectively the highest income tax rate in the Southeast and the 5th highest rate in the nation and we believe that a lower rate will give South Carolina a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting jobs and encouraging business start-ups. Whether attracting new jobs and capital or looking to grow from within, we must remain competitive with other states (Florida has no income tax) and other nations (even Russia & China are lowering rates) if we are to compete globally.
Twenty years ago, the dollar was worth 360 yen. Today it’s worth slightly more than 100 yen. In official Washington, this fact is indeed cause for alarm. But far from worrying that our currency has lost more than half its value during that time. Government policymakers often tell us our currency is too strong--and should be weakened even further.
All these machinations aside, the basic point was this: we did not deserve a raise. If the budget is actually balanced in five years, then Congress may want to consider a raise. I don’t think it will be. One of my campaign promises had been not to take a pay raise until the budget was balanced--because if Congress is serious about spending less, we ought to begin with ourselves.
Others were unhappy too. Self-limited members took to the house floor and voiced genuine outrage with this highway bill.
The likely result of breaking the caps for highways would be a mad rush to break the caps on every other government program. After all, how could the other House committee chairmen sit by and watch Bud Shuster get everything he wanted, and more, and not draw the conclusion that they were entitled to oodles more money, too?
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit an individual to designate three dollars on his or her income tax return (six dollars on a joint return) to be used to reduce the public debt of the United States.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: Pres. Eisenhower apparently once said that he believed that there could be no surplus as long as our Nation was in debt. I come from that school of thought, and yet that is not exactly where we are right now in Washington.
Where we are right now is debating whether or not 90 percent or 50 percent, or some number in between, of these projected future surpluses should be allocated to the debt. What struck me is the fact that really more than just the Congress should be involved in that debate. It is for that reason that I introduce today the Taxpayers' Choice Debt Reduction Act.
What this bill would do would be to simply take the 1040, the tax return as we now know it. And right now, we can send $3 to the presidential campaign. This would create another box wherein we could send 3 bucks to debt reduction. That is not enough money to change our national debt, but it is enough money to make a small step in an important debate that we all ought to be a part of.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means; never called for a House vote.
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act directs:
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Fiscal Responsibility Act:
A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.
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