by Ashley Phosphate
Columbia – South Carolinians have become dependent on the annual tax-free back to school shopping weekend in August. Too dependent say some. Others in key leadership positions say that they don’t want SC to become a haven for an “Obama-like” mentality that everything is free.
A bill moving through the Assembly will end the practice so shoppers will have to pay the full state sales tax this year. Leaders say this isn’t a tax increase, but an “intervention” to stop citizens from depending on the government for help.
“We know some of our constituents think we shouldn’t have cancelled the tax-free weekend, but you can see all these families lining up for the tax free weekend like pigs at a trough,” said Sen. Jake Knotts. “It’s disgusting and deplorable. We’re basically subsidizing the spending. We may as well just call it ‘Obama’ weekend,” he said.
House and Senate leadership agreed that something had to be done last year but were unsure how it would be received by the state’s shoppers.
“It’s a good bill that will end this welfare mentality that has swept across the country,” said Sen. Hugh Leatherman. He added that the state is not increasing its taxes. “We’re not in the business of raising taxes in this state. In fact, we’d like to cut them even more, but this tax ‘free’ weekend isn’t the way to do it,” he said.
Democrats jumped on the idea as “senseless.”
“Who do these jokers think they’re fooling,” said Sen. Robert Ford. “They don’t like the fact that people connect something free with Obama. It’s that simple. I don’t care whether it’s health care or a back to school weekend shopping spree. People deserve to get a break at least one weekend a year,” he said.
The governor’s office issued a statement saying that Governor Sanford supported both lowering taxes and ending the “subsidized” spending habits of back to school shoppers.