By Tom Davis
The South Carolina General Assembly begins a new legislative session this week, and I think it should focus on these three goals:
• Cap government spending. State spending grew by 20 percent last year and revenues are projected to grow by an additional 20 percent in 2012. Simply put, state government is too big and tries to do too much. This year, instead of using the new money to expand government programs or, even worse, create new ones, we should pay down state debt and/or rebate dollars to taxpayers. Last year my bill to cap spending failed in the South Carolina Senate by only four votes. We need to get the job done in 2012.
• End crony capitalism. Most South Carolinians are familiar with the corruption in DC. Few, however, realize that state politicians in Columbia also run a favor mill, and that annual state giveaways have grown from $34 million in 1998 to over $1 billion last year. Economic prosperity results from individuals investing their capital, working hard, and enjoying the benefits of their labor; it will never come through politicians’ misguided attempts to “steer” the economy. It’s time to shut down the favor factory and cut taxes across-the-board, for everyone.
• Expand freedom. We need to make South Carolina the freest state in America, with individuals empowered to solve their own problems and government limited to a few core functions. That goal should guide all of our legislative decisions, and it means removing barriers to a free market in health care, increasing school choices for parents, eliminating unnecessary red tape and regulations, and opting out of overreaching federal programs.
South Carolina has hardworking people and abundant natural resources; it has tremendous potential. And if we start putting more faith in South Carolinians, and less in politicians and bureaucrats, then we will realize that potential.