The regressive Palmetto Liberty PAC is appealing to voters (and soliciting funds) by using candidate responses to a bizarre survey. In an email to followers, the subsidiary to out-of-state special interests tries to paint certain candidates as untrustworthy because they refused to promise not to vote for new taxes. Although that sounds reasonable at first blush, such promises would be the sign of a candidate dedicated to poor governance.
Palmetto Liberty PAC, which may be operating illegally, claims to have sent out a questionnaire to candidates asking them if they would make certain commitments:
- Will you oppose and vote against any local option sales tax and against anything that would facilitate putting a local option sales tax on a ballot as a question to the voters?
- Will you oppose and vote against any new taxes or increase in existing taxes?
- Will you oppose and vote against funding for all beautification and vanity projects until Lexington’s county roads are repaired, resurfaced, or otherwise safe to travel?
- Will you oppose and vote against targeted tax breaks, FILOT agreements, or other tax shifting schemes for so called “economic development” projects
- Will you oppose and vote against using county funds and resources to give targeted incentives to companies for so called “economic development” projects?
- Will you support and vote for responsible reduction in overall tax rates to help build an economic climate of opportunity and prosperity for all businesses and residents of Lexington County?
Of the fourteen candidates to whom the survey was sent, only four answered “Yes” to all six questions. PL-PAC chose to highlight two county council races to emphasize: the Sixth District (Teppara vs Long Bergeson) and the Third District (Matthews vs Hudson).
The obstructionists at Palmetto Liberty point out that Erin Long Bergeson did not respond to the survey whereas Dino Teppara answered “Yes” to each question. The primary issue is insisting candidates commit to no new taxes or tax increases.
Think of it this way, do you want someone in a position of responsibility who pledges to take a particular stance no matter what circumstances may arise? Would you want a surgeon to commit to never removing a body part even if gangrene or cancer develops and amputation is the only option to save your life?
What is intentionally left out of the Palmetto Liberty’s argument is the necessities of unforeseen circumstances. What the PAC doesn’t want voters to think about are facts such as needs to repair roads when there are no – NO – alternative funding options. The PAC wants county leaders to ignore need – either current or future.
Governor Haley was criticized for vetoing a bill that would provide funds to help state farmers recover from last year’s flooding. A couple of the promises PL-PAC wants candidates to commit to would agree with the Governor’s decision – which was over-ridden by the General Assembly. Most believe taxpayer funds are necessary and appropriate to help a critical industry recoup losses from unforseen and devastating consequences, but PL-PAC doesn’t believe in exigent circumstances.
Was there an outcry from Palmetto Liberty PAC when Haley’s veto was over-ridden? NO. They kept silent because, although Haley conformed to their dogma, they didn’t have the guts to support her decision. They knew to do so would expose them and draw the wrath of the Lexington agricultural community.
The PAC survey also shows a complete lack of understanding of economic investment and business recruitment. As anyone who has sold a house knows you have to put money into the property to attract buyers. Whether it’s repairs or upgrades or cosmetic changes, money has to be spent to increase the chances of a sale. Local governments must do the same thing if it wants more businesses to bring in more jobs and more tax revenue which enhances school district revenue, etc. But groups like Palmetto Liberty PAC have no interest in community betterment. They prefer a community on the outskirts of prosperity.
The PAC wants no resources used to attract new industry and financial engagement. It seems to prefer placing bets on fanciful benevolence or magic money delivered by unicorn-mounted leprechauns.
Palmetto Liberty PAC wants an archaic, intransigent, immature, progress-deficient county council beholding to the PAC and its out-of-state overlords. Their chosen candidate for District 6, Dino Teppara, has signed on to be just that kind of councilman.
We have said it many times before; no one wants new or higher taxes. We all want to keep as much of our money as possible, but, as a community we have to be prepared and willing to make the hard decisions to do what is necessary.
If we elect leaders who commit to ignoring ALL options to repair, improve, correct, advance, promote and grow our community, we are doing nothing more than locking the doors and hoping things will work themselves out.
Choosing candidates who are willing to make pledges simply to be elected is dangerous AND stupid.
Having council members intent on burying their heads in the sand and ignoring solutions – especially the hard choices – would doom Lexington County to an economic backwater.