by Edgar Summer
Columbia – In a joint press conference Thursday, GOP candidate Nikki Haley for Governor and Ken Ard for Lt. Governor announced a new “Pledge to South Carolina.”
Haley said, “our goal will be to pass business-friendly legislation.”
“…until we do,” Ard continued, “we pledge to stop paying our taxes.”
Indeed, the two front-runners have the history to credibly live up to that pledge.
Associated Press records show the business owned by Nikki Haley’s family for which she was the accountant has been impressively penalized three times since 2003 for failing to pay taxes. Also Haley paid fines for failing to pay her personal income taxes on time. She also had tax liens for failure to pay corporate income taxes.
Despite her exemplary record, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce endorsed her opponent, Vincent Sheheen, an act which seems to confuse Haley. “Clearly, my opponent loves taxes,” Haley said, “he pays them on time. Can we trust a man who pays his taxes to have the best interests of the business community at heart?”
Ard also proudly touted his tax record, reading off a long list of his accomplishments. “I know I can live up to this pledge, as I have done during my time as a councilman. In fact, I’m so opposed to property taxes that I still haven’t paid this year’s [real estate taxes].”
Ard, 46, has served two terms on council. He planned to run the office like a “business” and not as a political one, saying business efficiency is what is needed in the office. “And when times get hard,” said Ard, ” we can just sell the office to the highest bidder. That’s what I did when I took over my daddy’s business, and that’s what I pledge to do with the Lt. Governor’s office.”
Mr. Ard also brought a shadow of doubt to his competitor’s credentials. “I don’t think we can trust no college boy up here in Columbia,” Ard said, referring to his democratic competitor. Ashley Cooper received his undergraduate degree from Clemson and his law degree from the University of South Carolina before he began his law practice in Greenville. “I mean,” Ard continued,” he has been endorsed by the SC Education Association, which severely undermines his credibility with ‘capital-B’ Business.”
When asked if the pledge extended to the citizenry, “so are you suggesting that the people stop paying taxes until you get them sorted out?” both candidates stared blankly into the lights for a moment and walked silently off the stage.